"The disappointing part of the game -if there was one- is that our pass defense was atrocious," said Marshall coach Bob Pruett after the win. "We had 600 yards, but we gave up too many pass plays."
Marshall put 21 points on the board in the first quarter, the result of QB Stan Hill airing it out to receivers Josh Davis (18 yard TD catch), Jason Schroeder (50 yard TD pass), and Davis a second time (27 yards). Hill would finish the night hitting 27-of-32 passes for five TDs and 392 yards.
"I just ran right past him. I'm not going to let one guy tackle me," said Schroeder of his 50 yard catch-and-run TD.
Josh Davis gains extra yards on one of his 8 catches for 144 yards and three TDs against Kent State.
Of those five touchdowns via the air, Hill spread the wealth to Darius Watts (8 catches, 123 yards, 1 TD) , Josh Davis (8 catches, 144 yards, 3 TDs) and Jason Schroeder (3 catches, 80 yards, 1 TD).
"I thought we spread the ball around well tonight," said QB Stan Hill. "We just took what they gave us, and ended up taking advantage of it."
With a 28-14 lead at the half, The Herd switched to the ground game in the second half. Running back Earl Charles (27 rushes for 177 yards, 2 TDs) punched the ball in from three yards out for the score with :46 remaining in the third quarter. On the very next possession, Charles hit paydirt again from 4 yards out, giving Marshall the 49-21 advantage.
However, the elusive Kent State quarterback Josh Cribbs wasn't ready to throw in the towel just yet. With 6:51 left in the game, Cribbs hit Jim Alexander on a three yard TD pass to claw back to a 49-27 deficit. Just 3:16 later, and Cribbs -facing third down and 13 on his own three yard line- launched 97 yard TD bomb to Najah Pruden that quieted Marshall Stadium. Marshall DB Willie Smith returned the favor on Kent's two-point conversion attempt, picking off Cribbs' pass and nearly returned the pick the entire 100 yards, save for being tripped up on the KSU 13 yard line.
"We gave up too many pass plays," summed up Pruett. "We'll have to get that corrected."
Marshall safety Curtis Keyes got a hand on Kent QB Josh Cribbs. Keyes finished his first collegiate start with 8 tackles.
The 97 yard pass to Pruden, coupled with a 57 yarder to Darrell Dowery, made up most of Kent's 348 passing yards. The Marshall defense shut down Cribbs running antics, to the tune of only 30 yards on 18 scampers by Cribbs. The Marshall defense sacked Cribbs five times, two by end Jamus Martin. Safety Curtis Keyes made his first start a good one, finishing with 8 tackles and two pass breakups.
Having had enough, Marshall end Jamus Martin sacked Cribbs on the Golden Flashes' final drive of the game, and the Herd walked away with a 49-33 MAC win. Marshall bumped up to an even 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the MAC, while KSU dropped to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the MAC with the loss.
"There's good and bad, but we'll have to play better defense if we want to beat these other teams," Pruett said. "It's frustrating to coach [Lou] Anarumo and coach [Bill] Wilt, but we'll get it straightened out."
Marshall now travels to Buffalo, NY to take on the Buffalo Bulls next Saturday.