HUNTINGTON — It didn’t take long for Marshall quarterback Grant Wells to make his presence felt around Conference USA.
On Monday, Wells was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week, as voted on by the league’s media panel.
In his first start for the Thundering Herd, Wells finished having completed 16 of 23 passes for 307 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday.
Wells’ performance brought about an onslaught of national attention and social media swelled with comments about the Charleston native’s strong debut.
“I try to put my phone away a little bit and ignore it...because we’ve got nine or ten or so games left,” Wells said. “That’s only one game. I try not to let that affect me too much.”
That demeanor is one that Wells said helped him get through his debut on Saturday, which marked his first live action behind center in nearly two years since taking the field for George Washington High School.
“I felt that I didn’t get too high, didn’t get too low during that game, which is something I felt that I needed to do,” Wells said.
After weeks of practice against the defense, Wells didn’t seem phased by being on the field for his first collegiate game as a starting quarterback.
Wells said he knew the day could be special based on the feel in the locker room prior to the game.
“I knew our guys were ready to play and I knew we were going to go out there and do what we needed to do, just by the way the locker room felt before the game,” Wells said. “These guys were ready to go out and play for what seemed like the first time in forever.”
Wells came out strong and completed his first seven passes and he threw for 280 of his 307 yards prior to halftime as he led Marshall to a 38-0 halftime advantage.
Wells gave that credit to his offensive line, which gave him plenty of time against the various looks put forth by the Colonels.
“It just goes back to how comfortable I felt back there,” Wells said. “I had all the time in the day to sit back there and pick apart that defense.”
Wells morphed that time to throw into a record-setting effort for a Marshall quarterback making his debut, passing the old mark of 292 yards set by Stan Hill in a 2002 win over Miami (Ohio).
It wasn’t just that he threw for 307 yards, either. Instead, the talk was about how he did so.
Wells showed on Saturday that he could make all collegiate throws, grabbing touchdown tosses on a post route to Xavier Gaines, a corner route to Talik Keaton and a deep ball to Jaron Woodyard.
Wells also got all of Marshall’s receiving corps active, joining with backup Luke Zban to connect with 13 different receivers, including five tight ends.
“One stat that stood out was just how many receivers got a touch,” Wells said. “That was something that really stood out to me and was very impressive. That’s the one thing about this offense and I’ve said this before — I don’t care who is out there with me. Every receiver is going to make a play for me, and that’s one thing that’s huge, going into each game.”
While the Herd’s 59-0 win over Eastern Kentucky was memorable, Wells said that the performance — and, effectively, the honor — is in the past and the focus is forward.
When asked how he planned to spend the rest of a scheduled day off for the team during a bye week prior to the Sept. 19 contest against Appalachian State, Wells answered quickly.
“Get back to work,” Wells said. “I know it sounds weird to say, coming off the high we’re on right now, but we’ve got to get back to the feeling we had before this game — that’s just get back to work. We’ll start preparing for App State today.”