"Me and Stan talked about the game the whole week," receiver Josh Davis described, "The coaches said they'd get the ball to me early, and that's what they did."
And when the dust settled, the still-shaky Marshall offense had dropped 466 yards (193 rushing, 273 through the air) on Buffalo, scored six of MU's seven touchdowns in the game, and in general, returned to playing as fans are accustomed.
"When Stan [Hill] played within the offense, he was outstanding tonight," coach Bob Pruett said. "Tonight was the first night Stan has played within the offense this season."
Receiver Josh Davis looked downfield on one of his 12 catches in the 48-14 win over Buffalo on Saturday evening.
It couldn't have been scripted better. With Hill and company struggling on the offensive side of the ball through Marshall's (4-3, 4-0 MAC) first six games, a visit from the Buffalo Bulls (1-7, 1-5) was precisely what was needed. Receiver Josh Davis capitalized on the situation and proceeded to put up the numbers (12 catches, 132 yards, one TD) expected of him.
"We moved him [Davis] around a little bit, and I think that helped," Pruett added of Josh Davis's first big game of the season.
"I can say that the offense has started to click," Josh Davis added.
Marshall came out of the gate firing, moving the ball 61 yards in just 7 plays on the game's opening series, four of those plays coming in the form of screen passes to Josh Davis. Earl Charles ended the drive by leaping over the line from one yard out for the first of seven Marshall scores, and 13:26 remained in the first quarter.
Despite the aberration that was UB's Dave Dawson breaking a 83-yard run for a score in the first quarter, the rest of the first half was all Marshall offense. Tremel Guillory ran in a 16-yard score from Stan Hill with 5:17 left in the first quarter. And in the second quarter, back Donte' Newsome and receiver Josh Davis both scored to run the halftime Marshall lead up to a very comfy 28-7.
Davis's score came on a perfect corner pass in the end zone from Hill with 2:27 left in the half. "Perfect pass," Davis said. "I couldn't ask for a more perfect pass from a perfect quarterback."
After a so-so first half, Marshall's defense got back on track in the second half. The 181 rushing yards allowed Buffalo in the first half dried up after halftime courtesy of performances like end Jonathan Goddard (9 tackles and one sack of UB quarterback P.J. Piskorik), as well as an interception by Marshall corner Willie Smith.
"We slipped a little bit, just mental errors," said end Jonathan Goddard of the defense's lackluster first half.
With both offense and defense having a great evening, the Marshall special teams units came into play. Literally. With UB facing fourth-and-nine on their own 10 yard-line, Dennis Thornton ran in and blocked a Ben Woods punt and recovered the block for the touchdown with 6:29 left in the third quarter. Thornton would finish the night with not only the blocked punt, but five tackles as well.
"It was a great feeling," Thornton described the block and touchdown. "We knew we were going to play a big part in the game."
"We worked real hard on it," Pruett added of the special teams explosion against Buffalo.
Punter Ian O'Connor kept Buffalo pinned all night long, placing three of his four punts inside the UB 20 yard line while averaging 42.0 yards per punt.
Only a final glitch late in the game would allow Buffalo to score one final time as Matt Knueven took a short pass 61 yards for the final score of the game with just 8:34 remaining. Too little, too late.
Quarterback Stan Hill put on his best performance of the season, going 19-of-26 with four touchdown passes. Back Earl Charles led the ground attack with a solid 74 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown.
Marshall's two-game home stand continues on October 30 when Central Florida visits Huntington for a 2:30pm contest. The game time has been moved up two hours from its original 4:30pm start to accomodate the Sunshine Network's broadcast in Florida.