Marshall Defense Stuffs ECU for 26-7 Victory


Bernard Morris gets away from East Carolina linebacker Pierre Bell. (AP Photo/Randy Snyder)

Bernard Morris gets away from East Carolina linebacker Pierre Bell. (AP Photo/Randy Snyder)

Nov. 10, 2007

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HUNTINGTON - Led by an outstanding defensive performance the Marshall football team produced a dominant effort Saturday night, beating East Carolina 26-7 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Bernard Morris became the first quarterback in Marshall history to rush for 1000 yards in a career as he registered 364 yards of total offense. On the day, Morris was 24 of 32 passing for 238 yards and two touchdowns, and he had 126 yards rushing with another score on the ground. The senior connected with a trio of primary receivers. Cody Slate, E.J. Wynn and Emmanuel Spann combined 15 catches, 163 yards and two touchdowns.

ECU came in averaging 32 points-per-game but was hampered all night by the Thundering Herd defense, which limited the Pirates to just 276 yards. Marshall shut down the ECU running game, holding one of Conference USA's top rushing attacks to just 108 yards. ECU running back Chris Johnson had to just 72 yards on 12 carries. Patrick Pinkney led the Pirates passing attack with 109 yards through the air.

Marshall dominated the time of possession in the first half, controlling the ball for 21:12 minutes of the first 30 minutes. The Pirate offense was able to get nothing going early as the Herd pitched its second first half shut out of season.

After receiving the opening kickoff Marshall took the lead on its first drive. Morris led the Herd on a 16-play march that took 8:36 off the clock and ended with a 34-yard Anthony Binswanger field goal.

The Herd moved the ball into ECU territory twice in its next three drives but was turned away on both occasions. Marshall finally able to break into the end zone just as the first half was winding down.

Starting at his own 44-yard line with under a minute left, Morris took the Herd into the hurry-up offense and connected on a quick strike to Spann for 33 yards. After an incomplete pass to Darius Passmore in the end zone, Morris found Wynn on a slant for a 23-yard touchdown that put Marshall ahead 10-0 at halftime.

The second half started with more of the same as Marshall forced ECU into a three-and-out. On the Herd's first offensive play, Morris rushed into the record books with 75-yard scamper for a touchdown.

ECU came back with an eight-play, 74-yard scoring drive to cut the Marshall lead to 16-7. With fourth and one at the Herd four-yard line, Pirate coach Skip Holtz rolled the dice and went for the touchdown. Pinkney pitched to Johnson on an option and the scat-back found his way to the corner of the end zone.

The teams traded punts on their next possessions. Marshall took over at its own 34 late in the third and worked its way to the Pirate 17 where Morris found Spann for his third touchdown throw of the day. The touchdown put the Herd ahead 23-7.

East Carolina moved to the Marshall 41 on its next drive, but was stopped on fourth and three when Pinkney's pass intended for Jamar Bryant fell incomplete.

The Thundering Herd then went 41 yards in 10 plays and ate 5:21 off the clock en route to a 33-yard Binswanger field goal with 5:41 left to play.

The Pirates last comeback hopes ended as ECU quarterback Rob Kass was sacked by Mario Harvey at the Marshall 37 and his ensuing fourth down pass fell incomplete.