HUNTINGTON — The score was 31-17 in favor of Marshall, but 36-24 were the defining numbers in the Thundering Herd’s victory over Old Dominion on Saturday.
The Herd controlled the football for 36 of the game’s 60 minutes, taking Old Dominion out of its time-consuming, ball-control strategy.
“They only ran 52 plays,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said, noting that his team ran 78. “That’s a defense nobody ran the ball on all year long like that, including Virginia and Virginia Tech.”
The Herd’s 236 rushing yards on 44 carries topped the 202 yards gained on the ground by Virginia Tech on Sept. 7. ODU gave up just 100.6 rushing yards per game coming into Saturday’s contest.
“Our offensive line blocked that team out there better than anyone has all year.” Holliday said.
THOMPSON CATCHES ON
Marshall’s young and injury riddled receiving corps received a substantial boost from Broc Thompson on Saturday.
The 6-foot-2, 176-pound freshman from Indianapolis wear No. 88, worn by Randy Moss when he played at Marshall in 1996 and 1997. Thompson wasn’t in Moss’ all-world class, but caught six passes for 91 yards, both game-best figures.
“He made some big plays there for us,” Holliday said of Thompson, who father Ryan Thompson played Major League Baseball for 10 years. “He has that ‘it.’ His dad won a World Series, and his brother [Trevor] is a professional basketball player [in Lithuania]. It’s in the family. He has that ‘it’ factor that runs in the family, and he’s going to be a good player for us.”
Marshall wore its Stars and Stripes red, white and blue logos on its helmets Saturday for Military Appreciation Day, which included a pregame flyover by a C-130 military transport plane ... Willie Johnson’s 27-yard touchdown run off a reverse was the first TD in the third quarter by the Herd since the season-opening game with VMI. ... Marshall’s eight sacks were the second-most in program history, topping the seven it made Sept. 16, 2017 against Kent State. ... The Herd ran its all-time record to 162-35 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium ... Marshall’s victory Saturday was its second over a team from Virginia this season. The last time the Herd beat two teams from the Commonwealth was in 2015 when it defeated Norfolk State 45-7 and Old Dominion 27-7.