HUNTINGTON — There was only one birthday blowout that Marshall running back Brenden Knox was interested in on Saturday.
Here’s a hint: It didn’t involve candles.
The only blowout Knox was concerned with on his 22nd birthday was the Thundering Herd’s 38-14 blowout of Western Kentucky.
“It is a little hard just getting a lot of mushy texts and stuff like that when you’re going to go play a man’s game,” Knox said. “It kind of gets you away from what you’re heading out to do, but it all just comes down to trying to lock it in and trying to take care of business.”
As messages started early on Saturday with birthday well-wishes, Knox said the goal on Saturday was to cancel out the noise and go about his business as usual on a college football Saturday. The only celebrating he wanted to do was after Marshall started Conference USA play at 1-0 with a big road win.
Knox made sure the Herd got that celebration, rushing for 107 yards and three touchdowns — two in a two-minute span late in the first half, which gave Marshall a 28-0 lead at the break. Knox’s other touchdown came on his first carry of the game, which was a 45-yard run around the right side of the offensive line that gave the Herd a lead less than one minute into the contest.
For Knox, one of his birthday presents included the first three-touchdown game of his Marshall career.
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday joked following Saturday’s win in Bowling Green, Kentucky, when asked whether the team would get Knox a cake for his birthday once they all arrived back in Huntington.
“He’ll get whatever everybody else gets,” Holliday said of the team’s meal on Sunday. “I don’t know what — probably chicken or some mashed potatoes. He’ll get the same thing they get.”
While the birthday was downplayed, there were a few interesting correlations for Knox on his birthday.
The date was 10-10-2020, and with the 107 yards and three touchdowns, those numbers were incorporated into the memories of the day for Knox. His 107-yard performance vaulted Knox past Larry Fourqurean into 10th place on the Herd’s all-time rushing list with 2,295 yards. The three touchdowns gave him 20 rushing touchdowns for his Marshall career.
While Knox enjoyed the weekend festivities, he’s much more focused on the future. He feels his best days are ahead of him.
“It was pretty cool, I can’t lie, but there’s so much room for much more,” Knox said. “I’m definitely grateful — you know, a great thing — but when you know there’s room for much more, that’s all you can really think about.”
Part of those plans for Knox include helping the Herd in its work for a Conference USA title, which takes the next step at 6 p.m. Saturday, when the team heads to Ruston, Louisiana, to take on Louisiana Tech in a battle of undefeated cross-divisional opponents. The game will be aired on CBS Sports Network.
Knox said celebrations from last week are over. Now it’s time to get back to work preparing for an opponent that he said will challenge the Herd.
To get a second road win in league play, Knox said the Herd must continue the efforts from last week.
“Take in your fundamentals, carry that in every week,” Knox said. “Take your toughness, which is something you probably hear with everyone in our program. Just remember what you’re fighting for. It’s going to be four quarters.”