Bradshaw Helps Keep Marshall's Bowl Hopes Alive, Carries Herd to 49-21 Rout Over UTEP|
Nov. 18, 2006
HUNTINGTON - Ahmad Bradshaw saved his best rushing performance for the Herd faithful. Bradshaw rushed for a career-high 261 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Marshall Thundering Herd to a 49-21 rout of the UTEP Miners Saturday on Senior Day.
The 28-point victory was two-fold for the Herd (5-6, 4-3 C-USA). Marshall finished the season with a 4-1 home record - the 15th four-plus-win home record in Joan C. Edwards Stadium history. The win also helped keep the Herd's bowl hopes alive. A win next week at Southern Miss would give the Herd six wins required for bowl eligibility.
UTEP (5-6, 3-4 C-USA) lost for the fourth time on the road this season and for the third time in the last four road contests.
With his 261-yard performance, Bradshaw fell one yard short of tying the school's single-game rushing record held by Ron Darby. His five touchdowns are the most since Jackie Hunt scored five times against Detroit Tech on Nov. 8, 1940.
UTEP senior quarterback Jordan Palmer threw for 376 yards on 33-of-47 passing with one touchdown, while throwing three interceptions. Johnnie Lee Higgins made eight catches for a game-high 119 yards and a touchdown.
Curtis Keyes (Mt. Olive, Miss./Mize) made a game-high 13 tackles (nine assists), while Ashton Hall (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County) made a career-high eight stops and an interception. Albert McClellan (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen) added five tackles, three tackles for loss and three sacks for a loss of 30 yards.
The Herd's defense came up big on UTEP's first two offensive possessions of the first quarter. On the game's opening play, Shavar Greer (Beckley, W.Va./Woodrow Wilson) sacked Palmer for an 11-yard loss. UTEP's first drive stalled and was forced to punt.
Facing second-and-goal from the Marshall 8-yard line, Palmer was intercepted in the end zone by C.J. Spillman (Louisville, Ky./Central). However, UTEP's third drive did not sputter. The Miners needed three plays to break the scoreless tie, as James Thomas rushed up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Marshall provided the equalizer before the end of the first quarter. Palmer threw his second interception of the quarter deep in his own territory. Hall, who was making his first career start, intercepted Palmer at the UTEP 18-yard line and returned it to the six-yard line.
On the ensuing play, Bradshaw scored the first of his three first-half touchdowns on a six-yard run around right side, tying the game 7-7 with 21 seconds left in the first period.
The Herd quickly took a two-touchdown lead in the first eight minutes of the second quarter. Bradshaw posted his second touchdown of the game on a 25-yard run up the middle, giving the Herd a 13-7 lead. Later in the quarter, Bradshaw ran the ball three straight times, capped off by a seven-yard touchdown which gave Marshall a 20-7 advantage at the 7:05 mark.
UTEP pulled to within 20-14 with 3:49 left in the half. The Miners engineered an eight-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Palmer.
Marshall responded with two quick scoring drives to take a commanding 35-14 halftime lead. It took nearly 28 minutes for the Herd to complete a pass. But the Herd made it count as Skinner connected on a 42-yard touchdown strike to Courtney Edmonson (Titusville, Fla./Astronaut). Edmonson's first career touchdown provided Marshall a 13-point advantage.
Marshall forced its fourth turnover on the next UTEP possession. Greer forced a Palmer fumble, which was recovered by Matt Couch (Okeana, Ohio/Ross Senior) at the UTEP 9-yard line.
The Herd scored on the very next play to take a 21-point lead. Bradshaw looked to have scored his fourth touchdown of the game, but fumbled at the 2-yard line. However, Cody Slate (Chipley, Fla./Hargrave) fell on the ball in the end zone for the Herd's fifth touchdown of the half.
Marshall took a commanding 28-point lead, 49-21, after three quarters. Bradshaw added a pair of two-yard rushing touchdowns in the quarter, while Higgins added the Miners' first passing touchdown of the game.
The Marshall Thundering Herd will play for its bowl eligibility Saturday, Nov. 25, when it travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., to face Conference USA East Division rival Southern Miss at 7:30 p.m. (EST). The game will be televised live on CSTV.
Freshman Ashton Hall (Kingsland, Ga.) made his first career start Saturday at the nickel back. Later in the first quarter, he recorded his first career interception.