Bradshaw and Skinner Shine In Scrimmage

Marshall's first scrimmage of the preseason provided some high points and some low ones as well. Roughly a thousand fans were on hand despite 93-degree heat to watch the Herd's scrimmage at 10:30am at Edwards Stadium...

Fans were also in attendance for the Marshall Ticket Office's final Choose-a-Seat day, a day which allows fans to view available season ticket locations and purchase their seats on the spot.

The Thundering Herd offense started the scrimmage off with a bit of trickery. On the first play from scrimmage, sophomore running back Ahmad Bradshaw threw a halfback option pass, but it fell into the hands of a leaping Chris Royal.

Chris Royal (right) began the scrimmage with this interception of QB Jimmy Skinner.

On the next drive, junior quarterback Jimmy Skinner connected with Marcus Fitzgerald for a five-yard gain. After three straight running plays and an incomplete pass, Skinner connected with Wilbur Hargrove for a 66-yard touchdown strike to give the offense its first score of the scrimmage.

"We started out well," first-year head coach Mark Synder said. "Some wins here, some wins there and then all of a sudden we started having negative plays."

Coach Mark Snyder watched the scrimmage from behind the offense.

From there, the offense stalled continuously on eight consecutive drives thanks in part to fantastic defense by Damarcus Thomas, who finished the day with four sacks, and the rest of the Herd's defensive front line.

"Damarcus made a lot of plays today sideline to sideline for us," Snyder added.

Receiver Hiram Moore looked for running room after catching this pass in Saturday's scrimmage.

Royal and Floyd Wright also had strong defensive showings Saturday. Royal had five tackles with an interception, while Wright had two sacks and a tackle for loss.

J.J. Johnson's four tackles and outstanding defensive play impressed Snyder so much that Johnson may have found a starting role in the defense.

"I was impressed with J.J. Johnson today," Snyder commented. "Come Monday, he'll be at the nickel spot. "We needed him. We needed somebody step up for us and he did."

QB Jimmy Skinner threw downfield during Saturday's scrimmage. He finished throwing 19-20 for 249 yards and three TDs.

It would be Skinner again who would drive the offense down the field for another score. Skinner would complete four passes on the drive, including a 10-yard strike to Matt Morris in the back of the end zone.

It wasn't just the offense that seemed to struggle at times. Junior Ian O'Connor, the often reliable place kicker and punter, was unable to connect on two of his first three field goals (52, 36), but was later able to connect from 37 yards away.

O'Connor would then connect on another 37-yard field goal, but his 25-yard attempt sailed wide left.

Jermaine Filer hauled in this 20-yard TD pass from QB Derek Devine.

Quarterback Derek Devine, a junior college transfer from Mt. San Antonio College (Calif.) who struggled early on in the scrimmage, finally got the offense rolling, connecting with Jermaine Filer on a 20-yard touchdown.

The offense would continue to struggle at times during the rest of the scrimmage. Snyder stressed concern about how his offense played Saturday, but was proud of his defense.

"I was a little disappointed the first time I brought the ball down into the red zone," Snyder said. "I felt we were going backwards offensively.

"That was disappointing offensively, but I was really happy with the defense knocking them back.

Skinner later through his third touchdown of the day to Bradshaw to give the offense its fifth score of the scrimmage.

Skinner led the passing attack, going 19-for-29 for 249 yards and three scores. Devine went 13-for-31 for 140 yards and a touchdown. Zach Barnard and Wesley Beardain combined to throw for 39 yards on 2-for-5 passing.

Bradshaw would cap off the scoring for the offense leaping over the goal line on the final play of the scrimmage for a one-yard touchdown. Bradshaw finished the day with 66 total yards (35 rec., 31 rush.) and two touchdowns.

Ahmad Bradshaw lept over the offensive line on the final score of the scrimmage on Saturday.

Hargove led all receivers, hauling in three catches for 101 yards, including his 66-yard score on the scrimmage's second drive. Hiram Moore grabbed three passes for 49 yards, while Antonio Leath had four catches for 46 yards.

The Thundering Herd will resume pre-season training Monday with its third two-a-day practice, beginning at 8:40 a.m. Practice will be closed to the public.

Passing Skinner 19/29 249 yards, 3 TD; Devine 13/31 140 yards, TD; Barnard 1-2 28 yards; Beardain 1-3 11 yards; Bradshaw 0-1 INT
Rushing Bradshaw 9-31; Albin 9-16; Jones 4-16; Cabarrus 8-16; Small 4-3; Echols 11-(-3); Barnard 2-(-8); Devine 7-(-30); Skinner 6-(-39)
Receiving Hargrove 3-101 TD; Moore 3-49; Leath 4-46; ; Lauzon 4-38; Bradshaw 2-35 TD; Surratt 1-28; Fitzgerald 6-26; Albin 2-25; Filer 1-20 TD; Parkhurst 2-20; Small 1-18; Bragg 1-11; Morris 2-7 TD; Shope 1-6; Jones 1-(-2).
Kicking O'Connor (4-4 XP, 2-5 FG – 37 long)
Defense Royal 5 tackles, INT; D. Thomas 2 tackles, 4 sacks; J.J. Johnson 4 tackles, Wright 2 sacks, TFL, Keyes 3 tackles

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