Marshall, ECU Fight for Postseason Opportunity Saturday|
Nov. 25, 2011
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.-The Marshall football team (5-6 overall, 4-3 Conference USA) hosts East Carolina (5-6, 4-3) for a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff from Joan C. Edwards Stadium Thursday afternoon. This game, which will be televised by CBS Sports Network, will not be streamed on HerdZone.com's All-Access platform due to Conference USA's television agreement with the network.
The winner of Saturday's game will become Conference USA's fifth and final bowl-eligible program. A Herd win Saturday and a Southern Miss (9-2, 5-2) home loss to Memphis (2-9, 1-6) would also give Marshall the Conference USA East Division title due to the Herd's 26-20 home win over Southern Miss on Sept. 10. The East winner will travel to eighth-ranked Houston Saturday, December 3 for a noon ET (11 a.m. CT) kickoff in a contest that will be televised on ESPN2.
Marshall scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull out a 23-22 win at Memphis last Thursday. The Thundering Herd trailed 22-10 with 11:22 remaining in the game, but scored two quick touchdowns to take a one-point lead with 6:10 to play.
Sophomore running back Tron Martinez rushed for 96 yards on 22 carries including a 21-yard touchdown run to cut the Tiger lead to 22-17 early in the fourth quarter. Trailing by five points, freshman running back Travon Van broke free for a 19-yard touchdown run, which proved to be the game-winner in front of 15,101 at the Liberty Bowl.
Freshman quarterback Rakeem Cato was 13-for-23 for 150 yards and one touchdown. However, he was also credited with two interceptions and one fumble. Altogether, six turnovers plagued the Herd offense which was nearly too much to overcome.
Wide receiver Antavious Wilson led the Herd receiving corps with 52 yards on just two receptions. Marshall outgained Memphis 293-277 in total yards.
Senior linebacker Tyson Gale led the team in tackles with 11, six solo. Redshirt freshman Monterius Lovett had seven tackles while Vinny Curry added six tackles and 0.5 sacks.
Sophomore running back Torrance Hunt rushed for a 56-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, helping East Carolina secure a 38-31 Conference USA victory over UCF last Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
A back and forth contest ended with the Pirates out-gaining the Knights 389-313. ECU recorded 203 of those yards through the air, pushing its 2011 total to 3,148. As a result, four of East Carolina's five touchdowns occurred via the passing game. UCF totaled just 198 yards through the air, marking the sixth-straight contest the Pirates have held an opponent under 200 aerial yards.
The Knights owned a nine-minute advantage in time of possession, but the Pirate defense quelled many of UCF's lengthy drives to keep the visitors off the scoreboard. ECU was able to apply sustained pressure in the Knight backfield, recording a season high-tying four sacks and a campaign-best eight tackles for loss.
Hunt ran for a career-best 100 yards in the contest, averaging 11.1 yards per carry.
Senior quarterback Dominique Davis completed 19 of his 31 attempts for 203 yards, moving into sole possession of first place on the East Carolina career completions chart with 695. He also rushed for a personal-best 62 yards, 37 of which were in the first quarter.
The Herd's 15 seniors will be honored in a pregame ceremony.