Marshall's Second Half Surge Falls Short at Pittsburgh
Michael Clark had four receptions for 147 yards and one touchdown
PITTSBURGH - In the first road game of the season, Marshall football fell 43-27 to Pittsburgh on Saturday night at Heinz Field.
The loss dropped the Thundering Herd to 1-3 overall, while the Panthers improved to 3-2.
Sophomore quarterback Chase Litton led the Thundering Herd by going 20-of-32 with 240 passing yards and two touchdowns. Litton's two touchdowns were caught by senior Josh Knight and redshirt sophomore Michael Clark. Knight finished with a team-high six catches and 49 receiving yards, while Clark had four receptions for a career-high 147 yards. Redshirt sophomore Keion Davis paced the Herd on the ground with 68 yards on 12 attempts with a score. Redshirt sophomore Anthony Anderson followed with 56 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.
Pittsburgh's opening drive went eight plays for 75 yards and ended with a five-yard touchdown run by George Aston at 11:17, putting the Panthers up 6-0 after a missed extra point. Pitt's offense continued to control the game as it went on to score two more touchdowns in the quarter. Running back James Connor scored from one-yard out at 5:03, and Maurice Ffrench had an 11-yard run with 50 seconds left on the clock.
The Panthers were able to add a touchdown before the end of the half as it capped off a seven play drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Nathan Peterman to Tre Tipton. At the end of the first half, Pittsburgh led Marshall 27-0.
Marshall began the second half strong by taking its opening drive 80 yards on 15 plays that was capped off by a Litton 15-yard touchdown pass to Knight. The Thundering Herd was successful on three third-down conversions and one fourth down conversion with an eight yard run by Davis. The Herd gave a heavy dose of running on the drive by rushing for 47 yards on eight plays.
On the ensuing kickoff, Marshall converted an onside kick as Amoreto Curraj placed a perfectly kicked ball over a Pitt defender into the hands of Knight. The Herd took over at the Pittsburgh 47-yard line and rushed the ball with Davis for a four-yard and nine-yard gain that ended with a first down. With the ball at the Pitt 27-yard line following a four yard gain by Emanual Byrd, Marshall drew a penalty on fourth-and-seven to extend the drive. Two plays later, Anderson bounced outside for a 11-yard touchdown run.
Pittsburgh got its first offensive possession with 5:20 on the clock in the third quarter. The Panthers went 73 yards on nine plays and settled for a 20-yard field goal by Chris Blewitt with 30 seconds remaining in the third.
The surging Marshall offense took over at the 14-yard line, and moved up to the 17-yard line following a three yard rush by Davis to end the quarter. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Litton completed a pass to Clark for an 83-yard touchdown. It was a career-high for both Litton and Clark.
The Herd defense stood tall on the next drive, but Pittsburgh offense chewed away 5:44 of the game clock on 11 plays. The Panthers were able to drive the ball to the Marshall 33-yard line but failed to convert on a fourth-and-five and turned the ball over on downs.
Marshall started the drive by forcing a Pitt defensive pass interference for 15 yards to place the ball at the Marshall 48-yard line. From there, Marshall went 11 plays and scored on a one-yard run by Davis at 4:01, cutting Pittsburgh's lead to 30-27.
Pittsburgh went on to seal the victory on the next drive as Peterman connected with Jester Weah for a 54-yard touchdown on third down with 1:04 remaining in regulation.
A Litton pass as time was expiring was intercepted by Avonte Maddox and returned for a 33-yard touchdown to put the score at 43-27.
Up next, Marshall travels to North Texas on Saturday, Oct. 8 for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff. For all the latest information about Marshall football, follow @HerdFB on Twitter.