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2019 0915 mu football

Marshall tight end Xavier Gaines scored one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown in the Thundering Herd’s win over Ohio.

HUNTINGTON — Marshall tight ends coach Kyle Segler was all smiles after Saturday’s 33-31 win over Ohio, as seen on social media after he posted the group in the end zone following victory.

Segler, the Herd’s first-year tight ends coach who came from Louisiana-Monroe, brought with him a mantra called the “Gold Standard,” which gets to the bar set by his position room. Segler was more than pleased to share Sunday that his position had met that “Gold Standard” in Saturday’s win.

Segler tweeted, “3 TDs, 1 fumble recovery on special teams, and bringing the Bell home where it belongs! I’d say the #GoldStandard showed the world what we are about today!!! #Seasoned.”

Prior to the season, Marshall head coach Doc Holliday and staff raved about how strong the tight end position would be with all-conference selection Armani Levias, versatile playmaker Xavier Gaines and young talent Devin Miller all in the mix. That trio’s skill set shined on Saturday.

Levias led all receivers with five catches for 29 yards and also had a fumble recovery on special teams in punt coverage. Miller also logged his first career touchdown reception when he caught a 22-yard scoring strike on a trick play in the second quarter.

Gaines had perhaps the biggest impact because of the various ways he was utilized. The former quarterback-turned-tight end lined up in the “Bison” formation — Marshall’s version of a Wildcat — and logged three carries for 52 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown, while also catching three passes for 53 yards and a score.

Oh, and don’t forget that tight ends are responsible in the run-blocking department, as well. Marshall rushed for 305 yards in Saturday’s win.

Out of all the plays run, the trio of tight ends were most excited about the touchdown pass to Miller, which involved some trickery. On the play, Marshall lined up in a tight set, but motioned out. Left tackle Will Ulmer was still the end of the Herd offensive line, but he was lined up in a traditional spot for a slot receiver.

The key to the play was Levias, who motioned out, but went from on the end of the line of scrimmage to being off the line, which uncovered Miller. Miller appeared in the position of a right tackle to the eye due to Ulmer’s shift out wide, but he actually was the tight end.

Ohio’s defense got confused by the formation and shifted, leaving the middle of the field wide open for Miller, who ran straight down the field. No one was within five yards of him when he caught Isaiah Green’s pass for a touchdown.

“I knew he was going to score as soon as they called the play and they lined up,” Gaines said. “Once Armani and Tavin [Richardson, wide receiver] motioned out and Will was out there doing jumping jacks, I saw the middle of the field was open and was like, ‘Oh yeah, he’s going to score.’”

Despite the win, Gaines said there is no complacency among the group, a notion that Holliday constantly puts into the players’ minds. They aren’t satisfied with just performing as they did on Saturday.

“We feel like we can do better,” Gaines said. “We left some plays out there — me and Armani — but it was great to have success.”

Levias added that the book is just now starting to open on the dimension that the tight end group can bring to the field. At one point, the trio of tight ends are also on the field together in what is known as the ‘Amigos’ formation — a fitting name considering the love and respect the group has for each other.

Levias said that the ‘Amigos’ are working to set Segler’s “Gold Standard” high for the future.

“We want to be the standard in the passing game, blocking game — all aspects of the game,” Levias said. “You all just got a little taste of what we can do. There’s going to be a lot more.”