It’s generally taboo to compare a college receiver to Randy Moss, especially at Marshall, but Tyre Brady did take a run at Moss’ school record for receiving yards in a game.
Brady gained 248 yards on 11 catches last weekend at North Carolina State, which tied for fourth on the Thundering Herd’s list. Moss gained 288 yards on eight catches in a November 30, 1996 Division I-AA playoff game against Delaware.
The others tied or higher: Troy Brown (248 vs. Virginia Military Institute, 1991), Andre Motley (262 vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga, 1990) and Josh Davis (264 vs. Appalachian State, 2002).
Brady can claim bragging rights on one front: He has gained the most receiving yards against a Division I-A/FBS opponent.
But he wasn’t bragging about it, as the Herd sought to fix mistakes from its 37-20 loss to the Wolfpack. He was happy, however, to express his admiration for Moss. He isn’t the first MU receiver to bring up the DuPont High and NFL great.
“I watched Moss when I was growing up,” Brady said. “I always wanted to make a Moss catch, going over a defender. He was a strong receiver. … I modeled some of my game off of him.”
The rest of the season, he’ll be like Moss in one respect: He will receive extra attention from most opposing secondaries. After racking up 188 yards on six catches with a 75-yard touchdown in the first half, the Wolfpack figured it might want to discontinue straight man-to-man coverage.
Brady still caught five balls for 60 yards after halftime.
“They mixed coverages up, put two or three people on me,” he said. “I still made a few catches, though. We drove down the field, but we didn’t finish in the red zone. I feel we’ll do a great job from here on out.”
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Brady was one of two Marshall players to earn Conference USA Player of the Week honors. Brady shared Offensive Player of the Week with Middle Tennessee quarterback Brent Stockstill, while Kaare Vedvik was named Special Teams Player of the Week. Vedvik averaged 44.5 yards on four punts and connected on field goals of 33 and 45 yards versus the Wolfpack.
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The Herd’s attention turned toward Kent State, which rushed for 294 yards on 53 carries last weekend in a 38-31 win over Howard. The quality of defense could have been a factor, but the truth is the Golden Flashes prefer to run the ball. Against Clemson, they ran much more (44 attempts) than they passed (five) in a 56-3 loss.
“Triple option, a bunch of read plays and everything,” said linebacker Artis Johnson. “They might sneak in a pass here and there.”
The contest at 6:30 p.m. on the Stadium network, will test the discipline of the Herd defense.
“I feel like if we stay focused and buy in to what the coaches are conveying to us, teaching to us, we’ll match up good against them,” Brady said.
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The Herd defense hasn’t been perfect, averaging 31.5 points and 457 yards given up. But this much you can say: It has yet to give up a first-drive touchdown.
Miami (Ohio) and N.C. State marched to the 9- and 14-yard lines, respectively before settling for field goals. In the case of the Wolfpack, quarterback Ryan Finley started the drive with a 46-yard run.
Last year, the Herd gave up first-drive touchdowns in nine of 12 games.
There isn’t a magic formula, and no guarantee the trend will continue. But Herd defenders say N.C. State’s big play didn’t sap their confidence.
“That shows everybody’s composure,” said safety Malik Gant. “The whole defense was, like, ‘OK, it happened’ … coaches always say ‘the Big A,’ adversity. … We all said, ‘Just worry abound the next play, have amnesia when it comes to the play before.’”
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Marshall’s offense did not score in the last 25:07, and that will eat at those players this week. Three drives traveled less than 10 yards, but there also was a 16-play, 7:55 possession that ended in a missed field goal.
Center Levi Brown, who committed a drive-stalling personal foul penalty carried the blame on his broad shoulders. He was flagged for planting his hands in a defender’s face.
The penalty did not wipe out a first down, but it took the Herd back from the N.C. State 17 to the 32.
“If you get it up there and get your hands caught up there, the refs see that,” Brown said. “They’ll give us a warning or two to get them down, but if you keep messing up, you get [the penalty], and you’ll get the yards against you.”
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At Kent State, head coach Paul Haynes will continue his medical leave for an unspecified condition. Don Treadwell, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, will continue to run the team.
Treadwell coached at Miami from 2011-13, and may not want a repeat of the result from the RedHawks’ 2013 visit to Huntington. The Herd broke a 14-all tie with 38 unanswered points in the second half.