Oct. 21, 2006
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Junior Doak Walker Award candidate Ahmad Bradshaw (Bluefield, Va./Graham) rushed for a career-high 242 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Marshall Thundering Herd to a 31-24 win over the UAB Blazers Saturday night at historic Legion Field.
With the victory, the Herd (2-5, 1-2 C-USA) snapped a five-game conference losing streak as well as a six-game road losing skid. Ironically, the Herd's last road victory came in the state of Alabama last season, when Marshall defeated Tulane 27-26 in Mobile at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
UAB (3-5, 2-2 C-USA) dropped its second consecutive C-USA contest, while snapping a brief two-game home winning streak.
Marshall starting quarterback Bernard Morris (Orlando, Fla./Jones) finished the game 5-of-7 for 100 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Morris left the game late in the third quarter after suffering an ankle injury. Jimmy Skinner (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe), who came on in relief of Morris, completed 4-of-5 for 56 yards.
Coming on the heels of a career performance at SMU, Matt Morris (Beckley, W.Va./Woodrow Wilson) led the Herd with two receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. Emmanuel Spann (Atlanta, Ga./Westlake) added two catches for 46 yards.
UAB's Chris Williams finished the night 18-of-30 for 205 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Willie Edwards led all Blazers receivers with four catches for 59 yards.
Defensively, C.J. Spillman (Louisville, Ky./Central) recorded a team-high nine tackles, while Albert McClellan (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen) added seven tackles and three tackles for loss. Shavar Greer (Beckley, W.Va./Woodrow Wilson) added four tackles, two tackles for loss and two sacks.
The Herd offense exploded out of the gate early in the first quarter. However, its first drive nearly spelled disaster and an early deficit.
On Marshall's third play of the opening drive, Morris' pass was intercepted by UAB's Will Evans, who returned it to the Marshall 1-yard line. But, a pair of UAB penalties pushed the Blazers back to the Marshall 21-yard line. The Blazers drive would later stall as Curtis Keyes (Mt. Olive, Miss./Mize) intercepted Williams' pass in the end zone.
The Herd's next offensive possession capitalized on the turnover. Marshall drove 80 yards on nine plays behind the legs of Bradshaw, who scored on a 26-yard scamper to give the Herd a 7-0 lead.
UAB responded in a fury. On the Blazers' first play of the ensuing possession, Marculus Elliott scored on a 49-yard touchdown run to pull UAB to within one point, 7-6. The Blazers, however, were unable to equal the score as Parker Mullins' point after attempt clanked off the left upright.
Marshall would not let another scoring opportunity pass as the Herd took a 14-6 lead with 2:36 remaining in the first quarter. After five straight rushing plays, Morris found Chubb Small (Auburndale, Fla./Hargrave) on a 26-yard first-down run to the UAB 49-yard line. On the next play, Small sliced through the UAB defense on his way to a 49-yard touchdown run.
Bradshaw, who began the night in 10th place on the school's career rushing list, rushed for 107 yards on 10 carries in the first quarter.
Twelve seconds into the second quarter, Marshall extended its lead to 21-6. Bernard Morris connected on a 31-yard touchdown strike to a wide open Matt Morris (Beckley, W.Va./Woodrow Wilson).
UAB trimmed the double-digit Herd lead to 21-14 thanks to a seven-minute scoring drive. Williams scored on an 8-yard quarterback draw and later tacked on the two-point conversion, reversing field on the Herd defense.
Bradshaw continued to increase his impressive first-half rushing numbers on the Herd's fourth scoring drive of the opening half. On just his 11th carry of the half, Bradshaw broke free for a 67-yard touchdown run to give Marshall a commanding 28-14 lead with 6:00 remaining.
Bradshaw out-rushed the entire UAB team in the first half, compiling 174 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns.
In the third quarter, UAB held the Marshall offense in check, keeping the Herd off the scoreboard. On the flip side, the Blazers were able to cut the lead to 28-21.
Williams hooked up with Jordan Erwin for a 34-yard touchdown strike with 10:41 in the third quarter. It was Erwin's first career touchdown catch.
The Herd had an opportunity to extend its lead on the ensuing drive, but Anthony Binswanger (Pleasant Hill, Calif./Diablo Valley CC) missed a 38-yard field goal that hit the right upright. It was Binswanger's first missed field goal less than 40 yards this season.
During the third quarter, Bradshaw eclipsed the 200-yard mark, becoming the first player since Chris Parker rushed for 202 yards in 1993. He became just the seventh player in program history to rush for 200 yards in a game.
Binswanger would redeem himself in the fourth quarter as he drilled a 41-yard field goal to give the Herd a 31-21 lead with 9:50 remaining in regulation.
UAB again pulled to within seven points, 31-24, on Swayze Waters' 42-yard field goal at the 6:24 mark of the fourth quarter.
After a Skinner interception gave UAB excellent field position at the Herd 41-yard line, the Herd's defense came up with a strong stance. Marshall forced UAB to turn the ball over on downs, thanks in large part to Greer's sack on fourth down.
The Marshall Thundering Herd returns to Huntington for back-to-back home weekends. The Herd will welcome Memphis for Homecoming Saturday, Oct. 28 at 4:30 p.m. (EDT).