Marshall Runs Past Hofstra, 54-31

Marshall overcame a slow start to eventually blow out The Pride of Hofstra, 54-31, on Saturday night. It was a game of firsts: The first time Marshall crested 50 points in a game since topping Buffalo 66-21 in 2002. Bernard Morris and Ahmad Bradshaw both topped 150 yards rushing, another first. "That's a good day," summed up Marshall coach Mark Snyder...

Marshall finished with 573 yards of total offense in the game, 367 of those yards coming on the ground. It was the first time since MU had 374 yards rushing against Akron in the 2003 game. Morris became the first quarterback to top 100 yards rushing since Danny Wright rushed for 141 yards against Furman in October of 1978 for then head coach Frank Ellwood in the Herd's second year of football in the Southern Conference.

Ahmad Bradshaw scored four touchdowns in the game, the first time for a Herd back since Chris Parker scored four versus Delaware in the I-AA playoffs on December 4, 1993. Only Jackie Hunt (five rush scores in 1940), Doug Freutal (five in 1919) and Wilbur Fisher (six in 1916) ever scored more touchdowns on the ground than Bradshaw.

Ahmad Bradshaw began his four-TD night with this 24-yard score with 2:35 left in the first by Greg Perry/HI staff

"That was our plan coming into the game, move the ball down the field," said the junior from Bluefield, Va. He was also impressed with the running by QB Bernard Morris. "Bernard is very smart, a strong runner. He deserved that. The line did a great job, we just had to be patient and wait for the holes."

Bradshaw had 17 carries for 152 and Morris had 14 carries for 151 yards as the Herd out-rushed Hofstra 313 to minus five for The Pride.

Marshall was down 14-0 before much of the Thundering Herd faithful had even gotten to their seats. I-AA Hofstra took the opening drive and went 82 yards in nine plays for a early 7-0 lead. QB Anton Clarkson hit Shaine Smith for a 45-yard touchdown, beating Marshall sophomore defender Jon Moravec, who started for Curtis Keyes at safety. Keyes and Dennis Thornton sat out the first series for undisclosed reasons. Chubb Small then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Hofstra had a second touchdown and a 14-point lead with 10:05 to play in the first quarter.

"We had to settle down," said Marshall's Maurice Kitchens of The Herd's slow start. "We didn't come out as fast as we wanted to."

"We were ready for this game. We knew we had to make it up on offense and come out strong," added Ahmad Bradshaw.

Marshall QB Bernard Morris lept over Hofstra CB DeWayne Whitaker during the second quarter. Morris ran for 151 yards in the game.

Oddly enough, it was Marshall's special teams that began The Herd's comeback rally. Punter Ian O'Connor boomed a 69-yard punt that pinned Hofstra inside the 10-yard line. That dramatic change of field position enabled Bradshaw to begin his journey of a four-touchdown night.

"The response was amazing, from the crowd and our sideline. I knew I got a hold of it," said O'Connor of his 69-yard punt.

Marshall rallied behind the running of quarterback Bernard Morris and tailback Ahmad Bradshaw, who gained 182 yards on the ground in the first half. Bradshaw had touchdowns from seven, 40 and 24 yards to give Marshall the go-ahead lead at 20-14. Hofstra hit a 21-yard field goal with 12 seconds left in the half to set the halftime score. Marshall had 12 first downs, to nine for The Pride, and 32 plays for 251 yards of offense to just 178 yards on 38 plays for the Pride.

MU defender Dennis Thornton stripped Hofstra QB Anton Clarkson of the ball, and MU's Shavar Greer picked up the fumble for the easy 10-yard score (see photo, below).

The second half featured the first score of TE Cody Slate's Marshall career, a 13-yard pass from Morris with 10:40 left in the third quarter. Just 27 seconds later, Marshall defender Dennis Thornton rocked Hofstra QB Anton Clarkson's world, forcing a fumble. MU's Shavar Greer picked up the loose ball and ran untouched 10 yards for the easy defensive score. That put Marshall ahead by a 33-17 margin.

Hofstra answered with a 7-play, 36 yard drive that ended with a Terry Crenshaw one yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter. The Herd replied with a textbook 8-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Emmanuel Spann leaping for the 10-yard TD pass from Morris with 7:41 left.

Shavar Greer scooped up the fumble caused by Dennis Thornton (photo, above) and cruised in for this 10-yard TD run.

The Pride put up a late score, a 2-yard pass to Shaine Smith with 2:36 remaining. Marshall backup QB Jimmy Skinner dotted the "I" on the Marshall win with just 40 seconds remaining, hitting TE Mike Nolan for the final score that set the score at 54-31.

Reserve TE Mike Nolan put the icing on the cake, scoring on this 13-yard pass from Jimm Skinner with just :40 left in the game.

"We did a lot of good things: we rushed the ball, we threw the ball, and we scored when we got in the red zone," summed up Marshall coach Mark Snyder.

Marshall now goes on the road for two weeks, playing at Big-12 foe Kansas State, then on to SEC powerhouse Tennessee the following week.

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