Marshall Beats Rice for First Win of 2007, 34-21


Bernard Morris

Bernard Morris

Oct. 27, 2007

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HUNTINGTON - The Marshall football team raced ahead to a 17-0 lead at the half Saturday night and then held on for a 34-21 win over Rice on Homecoming Night in Joan C. Edwards Stadium to earn its first victory of the season.

Marshall (1-7, 1-3 C-USA) snapped an eight game losing streak that dated back to 2006.

Herd quarterback Bernard Morris was the heart of the Marshall offense once again, mixing in a strong passing performance with several spectacular runs on his way to 347 yards of total offense. The senior threw for 227 yards and rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

A trio of running backs led the Herd on the ground. Junior Chubb Small and freshman Darius Marshall combined for 113 yards on 25 carries and Kelvin Turner recorded two rushing touchdowns.

Neither squad was able to get any points on the board in a scoreless first quarter. Rice penetrated Marshall territory all the way to the Herd five-yard line, but defensive lineman James Burkes and linebacker Ian Hoskins teamed up to stuff the Owls' James Casey on fourth and one.

Marshall turned around marched 92 yards for its first touchdown of the game. MU converted on two third down attempts and overcame a pair of holding penalties. On the drive, Morris connected with Slate for 22 yards to convert a second and 18 and had runs of 28 yards and 22 yards in addition to a nine-yard scamper for the touchdown.

After shutting down Rice on its next drive, the Herd was on the move again. MU took over on its own 20-yard line and cranked out a 15-play drive that took 6:18 off the clock and ended with Turner plunging up the middle his third rushing touchdown of the season.

The Thundering Herd tacked on field goal late in the second quarter to move the lead to 17-0 as Morris navigated the offense from its own nine-yard line with just 1:46 remaining. MU managed to move to the Rice 25, but Morris' third down pass glanced off the hands of Slate in the end zone and forced MU to settle for a 42-yard kick by Anthony Binswanger.

The two sides exchanged punts to open the second half and Rice moved into Herd territory where it faced another fourth and one situation. Once again Marshall's defense rose to the occasion and stymied the Owls as senior Byron Tinker stopped Casey in the backfield for two-yard loss.

The offense capitalized again with Morris finding Emmanuel Spann for a 26-yard gain down the sideline and then taking off on an electrifying 26-yard scramble for his second rushing score of the game.

Rice cut the lead to 24-7 as Clement ran the ball in from 20-yards out for the Owl's first score of the game.

MU answered immediately with a scoring drive of its own. Morris threw a dart to Passmore for a 28-yard gain, and Small broke off a 19-yard gain up the middle. The Herd eventually stalled at the Rice five and settled for a second Binswanger field goal.

Marshall was able to do nothing with a John Saunders interception on Rice's next drive and gave the ball right back to Owls, who took the ball down the field and scored another touchdown on an 11-yard pass from Clement to Casey.

The Herd went three and out again its next drive and Rice trimmed the lead to just six points as Clement found Toren Dixon for a two-yard score.

After a squib kick from the Owls, MU took over on 43. Darius Marshall and Small combined to carry the offense down to the Rice eight-yard line where Marshall Turner punched in his second touchdown of the game to produce the games final score.