"We've never played well up here," said Marshall coach Bob Pruett after the game. "Offensively, we just stunk it up."
And that's all you really need to know. Marshall jumped out quickly in the first quarter and then seemingly shut down the engines until the fourth quarter, when The Herd was desperately in need of points to keep the unthinkable (a Buffalo win) from happening.
Darius Watts found himself in one-on-one coverage during Marshall's opening possession, and that resulted in a quick touchdown with 12:11 left in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Marshall QB Stan Hill limped his way into the endzone on a bootleg play with 14:01 remaining in the first half to give Marshall the quick 13-3 advantage.
Marshall QB Stan Hill looks downfield during The Herd's 26-16 win at Buffalo on Saturday afternoon.
Marshall running back Earl Charles added yet a third score with 7:25 left in the half, shooting the Herd out to a 19-3 advantage. Charles' five-yard TD was just a part of 279 yards total offense by the Herd in the first half.
The Buffalo Bulls, however, weren't just ready to roll over and play dead. RB Chris McDuffy bowled his way into the endzone with 5:50 left in the third quarter for the Bulls' first TD of the game. Meanwhile on defense, the Bulls' J.J. Gibson was teeing off on MU QB HIll, hitting Hill with his third sack on Marshall's ensuing possession.
"Offensively, we struggled," was running back Earl Charles's reply to Marshall's third quarter disappearing act.
Buffalo added another seven points on a one-yard TD pass with 12:16 left in the fourth quarter. That brought the score to a very uncomfortable (for Marshall) 19-16.
"We missed checks, blew calls," summed up Pruett of his squad's offensive woes in the second half.
And just when they needed it most, Marshall's offense awakened just long enough to put enough distance on the Bulls to get the job done. Earl Charles capped a 4 play, 44 yard drive with a 6 yard TD run with 5:07 left in the game to seal the win for Marshall.
"The team needed me at the end of the game, and I did what I had to do," said Charles of the score that effectively put the game away. Charles finished with 112 yards on 23 carries.
Marshall's defense kept Buffalo limited to only 279 yards total offense. Roberto Terrell chalked up an interception in the third quarter.
"They (UB) only had one drive all day," was Pruett's assessment of the Marshall defensive performance.
The Herd's Stan Hill finished throwing 26-of-42 passes for 292 yards. Darius Watts was Hill's favorite target, catching 9 passes for 98 yards. Huntington's own Hiram Moore took full advantage of his first start at wideout, hauling in 3 passes for 74 yards, one a drive-extending catch late in the game that kept Marshall's final scoring drive alive.
With the win, Marshall bumps up to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in MAC action. The Herd travels to Kalamazoo, Michigan next weekend to take on the Broncos. Buffalo skids to 0-8 overall with the loss.