Herd Clinches MAC East With Win Over Ohio
Marshall Accepts Bid To GMAC Bowl
ATHENS, Ohio (AP) -- Byron Leftwich came off the bench and threw for 219 yards and a touchdown Saturday as Marshall beat Ohio 24-21 and earned a second-straight berth in the GMAC Bowl.
The Thundering Herd (8-2, 6-1 Mid-American Conference) clinched their sixth straight MAC East Division title and will host either Toledo or Northern Illinois in the conference title game Dec. 7.
After the game, Marshall accepted the bid to the GMAC Bowl on Dec. 18 in Mobile, Ala., and will play a team from Conference USA.
Kevin Kerr missed a 47-yard field goal for Ohio (4-7, 4-3) that would have tied it with 30 seconds remaining.
Leftwich, who had not played since Nov. 2 at Akron, replaced an ineffective Stan Hill with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter and Marshall trailing 7-3.
Though he was slightly limping on his sore left shin, Leftwich threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Denero Marriott with in the third quarter, putting the Herd ahead to stay 10-7.
Leftwich, who went 19-of-29, played between the 20-yard lines in a shotgun formation, while Hill played in short-yardage situations. Hill was in at the end when Marshall failed to kill the clock after recovering an Ohio onside kick.
Hill got stuffed on a fourth-and-1 sneak with 1:47 remaining, giving the ball back to the Bobcats. Ohio drove 44 yards to the Marshall 30, but Kerr missed his field goal to end the threat.
Franklin Wallace rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries for Marshall. He scored on a 2-yard run in the third to give the Herd a 17-7 lead.
After the Bobcats pulled within four points on Joe Mohler's 58-yard touchdown reception from Chad Brinker on a halfback pass, Hill scored on a 6-yard keeper to give Marshall a 24-13 lead with 8:58 to play.
Ohio cut its deficit to three with 3:49 remaining when quarterback Fred Ray scored on an 8-yard run _ capping a 13-play, 80 drive _ and Brinker ran in the 2-point conversion. Marshall then recovered the onside kick. Brinker ran for 95 yards and a 48-yard touchdown on 18 carries.
Hill completed 2 of 5 passes for 40 yards and rushed for 6 yards on seven carries in his second career start.