Foster's 66-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter was the longest of his career.
Oct. 17, 2015
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Sophomore Hyleck Foster (Gaffney, S.C.) had a career day of 122 rushing yards on 17 attempts with a 66-yard touchdown in a 33-17 win for Marshall football over Florida Atlantic on Saturday afternoon at FAU Stadium.
The Herd never trailed, moving to 6-1 and earning bowl eligibility for the third consecutive season. Marshall remains unbeaten in Conference USA play at 3-0. FAU fell to 1-5, 1-2 in league play.
Foster had the first carries of his career en route to his best performance for the Herd, scoring his first rushing touchdown at 5:43 in the third quarter. His 122-yard day marks the Herd’s 20th game with a 100-yard rusher in the last 21 outings, and its 30th in the last 34 games.
As a unit, Marshall had over 300 yards rushing (326) for the first time since Nov. 8, 2014, at Southern Miss. The Herd had a season-high 500 yards of total offense. The last time Marshall gained 500 or more yards of offense was at the Boca Raton Bowl against Northern Illinois on Dec. 23, 2014 (505 yards).
On the second play from scrimmage, senior running back Devon Johnson (Richlands, Va.) broke free from the defense and ran 75 yards down the field for a touchdown. Nick Smith (Plain City, Ohio) completed the scoring play with the extra point to give the Herd an early 7-0 lead at 14:43. On the resulting FAU drive, the Owls drove 65 yards to the Marshall six-yard line, but the Herd defense held tough and forced a field goal attempt. Greg Joseph connected for a 23-yard kick to put FAU on the scoreboard, down 7-3.
With 2:31 remaining in the first quarter, the Herd was forced to punt, bringing out senior Tyler Williams (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Williams placed the ball on the FAU two-yard line with a 54-yard punt. An Owl penalty pushed FAU back even farther to the one-yard mark, and on the next play, redshirt senior D.J. Hunter (Middletown, Ohio) and freshman safety Nyquan Harris (Norfolk, Va.) sacked Owl quarterback Jay Warren in the end zone for the Herd’s first safety of the season. It was a first for Marshall since Sept. 10, 2011, against Southern Miss, when Vinny Curry took down Kendrick Hardy.
Marshall kept possession through the remainder of the first quarter on a four-play, 63-yard drive, and on the first play of the second quarter, Remi Watson (Lakeland, Fla.) rushed for one yard over the goal line. Smith finished the job with the point-after-touchdown, extending the Herd’s lead to 16-3 at 14:56 in the second quarter.
A Marshall drive that started at 12:26 in the second ended with an interception returned 95 yards for a score by Ocie Rose, closing the gap to 16-10. The Herd responded on its very next possession as freshman quarterback Chase Litton (Tampa, Fla.) connected with Davonte Allen (Belle Glade, Fla.) for a 22-yard score, giving Marshall a 23-10 advantage with two minutes remaining before the break. FAU attempted a 20-yard field goal with 22 seconds on the clock but was unsuccessful, and the teams paused for halftime.
Coming out of the break, the Owls had the first possession but were held to a three-and-out. There were no scoring plays for the first 10 minutes of the half, until Foster took off from the Herd 34-yard mark all the way to the house for a 66-yard score. Another extra point from Smith gave Marshall a 20-point advantage, up 30-10 with 5:42 remaining in the third quarter. On the Owls’ resulting drive, quarterback Jason Driskel completed a 71-yard pass to Tyler Cameron, bringing FAU up to the Marshall four-yard line. Two plays later, Trey Rodriguez cut the FAU deficit with a two-yard scoring run at 4:47, and the score remained 30-17 through the end of the period.
On the third play of the final quarter, Driskel attempted a pass on fourth down and nine but was intercepted by Rodney Allen (Dallas), who returned the ball to the Herd’s 25-yard line at 14:41. The drive ended with Smith’s second field goal of the game, a 33-yard kick, giving Marshall a 33-17 lead with 9:46 remaining in the game. The Herd defense held off FAU’s next drive, and the 33-17 margin held true as time expired for Marshall’s sixth win of the year.
Homecoming is next for the Herd, hosting North Texas at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 3:30 p.m. at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, W.Va.