Herd Downs Hofstra 45-21 In Season Opener

Marshall put up a dizzying 608 yards of total offense en route to dispatching the Division 1-AA Hofstra Pride, 45-21, in the Herd's home opener at a soggy Marshall Stadium on August 30. Quarterback Stan Hill stepped right in where former QB Byron Leftwich left off, throwing for 344 yards on 25-of-37 attempts.

"Stan proved he could throw the ball tonight," said Marshall coach Bob Pruett of the junior QB's opening performance against Hofstra. "I mean, he threw for 344 yards. That's not too bad."

No, not too bad in light of a whopping (for Marshall) 6 turnovers committed by the offense. Three of those occured via interceptions of Hill, but were passes that hit the receivers square in the hands. Pruett wasn't concerned. "He (Hill) can't catch it for them," Pruett quipped to reporters after the game.

MU QB Stan Hill lobs a pass downfield against Hofstra last Saturday night.

Regardless, the Marshall offensive attack displayed a revamped rushing game, led by senior Franklin Wallace (86 yards on 16 carries, one TD) and junior college transfer Earl Charles (46 yards on 11 carries, two TDs). In fact, Marshall ran more running plays (50) than passing ones (38).

"All in all, I don't know that we can come away feeling real bad, cause it's always good to win," Pruett summed up. "We had 600 yards, and they had 240. That's a lot of good stuff."

But don't be fooled by that stat. Marshall's receiving corps did their damage to Hofstra early on. Darius Watts grabbed 7 passes for 122 yards and one TD, with Josh Davis (7-for-88 yards, one TD) and JUCO transfer Tremel Guillory (2 for 46 yards) adding impressive opening game numbers.

Marshall jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter behind Davis' 27-yard TD pass from Hill, backed up 2:09 later when Watts took a Hill pass and jetted 51 yards for the score. Earl Charles' first Division 1 TD took MU out to a 21-7 lead. The Herd enjoyed a 28-14 lead after Butchie Wallace lept in from one yard out with :59 remaining.

Marshall linebacker Kevin Atkins applied pressure to Hofstra QB Bobby Seck in the first half.

"It was pretty exciting, my first division one touchdown," Charles said. "We've got a lot of stuff that we have to get better on."

However, Hofstra got back as close as seven points, at 28-21, on a 10-yard pass play. This is when Hill kicked into overdrive, and took matters into his own hands. On the very next possession, MU QB Stan Hill made up for two prior fumbles by sprinting into the end zone from 8 yards out, extending the Herd's lead to 35-21.

"As a quarterback, you've got to have a leadership role established," Hill said. "We know we can move the ball on offense, we just have to eliminate turnovers."

Nick Kelly added an impressive 37-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, and Earl Charles added his second rushing TD of the day with 9:12 remaining in the game to seal the win at 45-21.

Marshall's defense kept Hofstra at bay, limiting the Pride to only 241 total offensive yards. If not for two big plays by Hofstra's Isaac Irby (39 and 33 yard TD runs), the Herd defense would have had a stellar day. J.T. Rembert and Willie Smith led the Marshall defense with 4.5 tackles apiece.

Marshall now prepares to face the Tennessee Volunteers next Saturday at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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