With the win, Marshall now solidifies its possession of first place in the MAC East race at 7-1 overall, 4-0 in MAC play. Kent drops to 4-5 overall and 2-3 in the MAC.
"I'm really pleased with our running game," said Marshall coach Bob Pruett. "Trod ran the ball very hard."
The game would start off somewhat slow, crescendo in the second quarter (for Marshall), and slowly die down in the second half. Marshall's Franklin Wallace bounced in from two yards out to get the scoring started at the 10:01 mark of the first quarter. Wallace's run capped off a 80-yard, 13-play drive.
Kent's Dave Pavich booted a 22-yard field goal with only :06 remaining in the quarter, to put the Golden Flashes on the board. It would be another 17 minutes, 39 seconds of game time before the Flashes would score again, while Marshall tacked on 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to pull away to a 28-3 lead on Byron Leftwich's keeper with 1:10 left in the half. At the 11:34 mark, Leftwich had zipped a 9-yard touchdown pass to Darius Watts; 4:23 later, and the duo repeated the feat, this time with Watts hauling in the 24-yard heater from Leftwich at the 7:11 mark. Leftwich's keeper touchdown run capped a 99-yard, 9-play drive that only took 3:33 to execute against the KSU defense.
"We played in spurts," was Marshall coach Bob Pruett's assessment. His quarterback, however, saw things in a different light. "Our defense stepped up today, and they did what they normally do, which is give us the ball in the right situation to score," Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich added. "And that's what they did."
Curtis Jones ran into the endzone all alone on his fourth quarter touchdown reception.
KSU drew first blood in the second half on yet another Dave Pavich field goal (40 yards) with 12:27 left. Marshall's Brandon Carey took the majority of the running duties during the Herd's 4-play, 60-yard drive late in the quarter. It ended when Carey ran up the middle untouched for a 10-yard touchdown. Marshall had a comfy lead at 35-6 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Golden Flashes scored their first touchdown of the game with 13:45 left in the game on a DeMarlo Rozier 2-yard run, to cut into the Marshall lead somewhat at 35-13.
With 5:40 left in the game, Byron Leftwich found receiver Curtis Jones in the left flat, and Jones did a catch-and-run that ended in the end zone 23 yards later. KSU added a score late in the game, when the second and third teams were battling one another. Maurio Medley hauled in a 2-yard pass from KSU QB Josh Cribbs with only 2:50 left in the game, to end the scoring at 42-21.
Utilizing the run to set up the pass, Marshall's offense amassed 605 yards of total offense (264 rushing, 341 passing) in downing the Golden Flashes. Trod Buggs led the way on the ground, racking up his second 100-yard game this year in relief of Franklin Wallace. Buggs ran for 108 yards on 13 carries, while Wallace ran for 83 yards and one TD before leaving the game with a slight ankle/foot sprain. Brandon Carey tacked on 42 yards on the ground and one TD.
"I like to run the football," Pruett summed up. "When we can run the football, we can throw the ball. It makes it a lot easier to throw the football."
In the air, Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich went 24-for-34, 333 yards and 3 TDs. Denero Marriott was high-man on the totem pole with 110 yards on 8 catches; Darius Watts was close behind with 107 yards, but did score two TDs. Josh Davis added 52 yards for good measure.
Marshall's defense gave up 448 yards offense to KSU. However, at least 100 came late in the fourth quarter, after the damage had been done. KSU QB Josh Cribbs ran amuck through the Marshall defense, gaining 181 yards on 20 carries. "Cribbs is certainly a good player, and he made a lot of things happen," Pruett complimented. Cribbs also threw for 182 yards, on 17-29 passing. The Marshall defense sacked Cribbs twice in the game.
Marshall now prepares to face MAC foe the Miami RedHawks next Saturday in Oxford, Ohio. Game time is 1pm.