RedHawks Crush Marshall 45-6

The windy and cold conditions at Miami's Yager Stadium should have been an omen. The Marshall Thundering Herd found Yager Stadium a cold and uninviting place on Wednesday night as the RedHawks dominated and dismantled The Herd 45-6.

And the game really wasn't even that close. A near-capacity crowd of 26,286 watched as Miami turned five Marshall turnovers into easy touchdowns, while at the same time utilizing a suffocating defense to limit Marshall's offensive output to only 239 total yards.

With the win, Miami keeps the streak alive at 9-1, a perfect 6-0 in MAC play. Miami also put an end to their five-game losing streak to Marshall.

Plus, the RedHawks are guaranteed their first MAC title since divisional play began in 1997. Marshall has held the MAC East title all six years.

"We've put those kinds of whippings on people, walked away and grinned," summed up Marshall coach Bob Pruett.

"They [Miami] need to grin real big."

Wednesday night saw a changing of the guard -at least for 2003- as Miami quarterback Ben Roethlisberger nailed 18-of-29 passes for 282 yards and two TDs. Roethlisberger handed off to Mike Smith for the 'Hawks second TD of the night with 9:39 left in the second quarter. By the end of the half, Miami would score two more times.

Unfazed by a lackluster Marshall defensive effort, Roethlisberger's offense finished the night with 494 total yards.

Miami QB Ben Roethlisberger shakes off the tackle of Marshall DB Gladstone Coke in the 45-6 win.

Miami defensive back Terna Nande picked off Marshall quarterback Graham Gochneaur and returned the pick 43 yards for the 21-0 lead. Smith would run in his second TD of the night with 2:37 left, untouched from 17 yards out.

In between Miami scores came Marshall's lone touchdown, a 5 yard pass from Gochneaur to Darius Watts. Watts has caught a TD pass in 10 consecutive games.

Miami's 28-6 halftime lead jumped to 31-6 on a 21-yard field goal late in the third quarter. Another Marshall turnover led to the RedHawks' Cal Murray running in from 2 yards out just 1:39 later to put the game away for good. Michael Larkin added another Miami TD with 8:37 left in the game to seal the win.

"They gave us a good butt kicking," added Pruett. "No excuses."

The six-point production by Marshall is their lowest total since a 42-0 rout by Toledo in October of 2000, and guarantees Marshall their first four-loss season since going 7-5 in 2000.

Marshall now has to regroup at face the UCF Knights in Orlando, Florida one week from Saturday.

"It will be really embarrassing if we play like that next week," Marshall coach Bob Pruett finished.

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