"We felt like we had to run the ball to win," said Marshall coach Bob Pruett afterwards. "And stop them from running."
And Marshall did just that. The Thundering Herd -known for its passing attack and porous run defense- reversed roles on the Wildcats, running through the K-State defense and stopping the Wildcats much-ballyhooed running attack.
Marshall's Charlie Tynes drops KSU QB Jeff Schwinn. photo by Pete Aiken for Herd Insider.
KSU running back Darren Sproles was limited to a season-low 77 rushing yards as the Marshall defense kept the Wildcats to only 128 yards on the ground, total.
Marshall tied the game at 7-7 when defensive end Jonathan Goddard returned a KSU fumble 84 yards for a touchdown, the first of Goddard's career. The game-changing play energized the Marshall defense, to the tune of limiting Kansas State to only 2-of-11 third down conversions the entire game.
QB Graham Gochneaur's three-yard touchdown pass to Jason Rader put the Herd up 25-20 with 3:34 left in the game. WR Josh Davis hauled in the two-point conversion pass right on the goal line for the final two points.
Kansas State's Sproles took a screen pass to the three-yard line with only :20 remaining. On the final play of the game, Marshall linebacker J.T. Rembert jumped in front of QB Jeff Schwinn's pass, ending the game and sealing the Herd's first win over an opponent ranked in both the AP and ESPN/Coaches polls.
Marshall players celebrate the Herd's biggest win since moving to Division 1 in 1997 after beating Kansas State 27-20.photo by Pete Aiken for Herd Insider.
"Awesome," was Pruett's simple summation afterward.
Marshall (2-2) now readies for a trip to Troy, Alabama to take on the Troy State Trojans next Saturday. Kansas State drops to 4-1 with the upset loss.