For the third consecutive game, Jimmy Skinner replaced starting quarterback Bernard Morris when Morris was injured toward the end of the third quarter. Morris had passes for 227 yards and a touchdown, hitting 16-of-22 with a interception before being injured and had led Marshall to a 21-0 first quarter lead.
Zearrick Matthews returned this interception of Tulane 44 yards for a TD in the first quarter. photos by Greg Perry/HI staff
Skinner, a senior who split time starting with Morris in 2005, had his third great game off the bench as he passed for three touchdowns and 113 yards in mostly the fourth quarter to break away from Tulane. The Green Wave had battled back with two Matt Forte touchdowns in the second and third quarter, plus a Lester Ricard pass to Preston Brown, to tie the game at 21-21 with 9:56 to play in the third.
Skinner found tight end Cody Slate for his second touchdown catch of the night with 12:34 to play in the fourth to give Marshall a 28-21 lead, after Mark Snyder decided to take down a 36 yard field goal by Anthony Binswanger . Tulane was flagged offsides on the kick and that gave the Herd a first down at the 14-yard line. Marshall's safety Jon Moravec had blocked a Chris Beckman punt to give the Herd the ball to start the fourth in Tulane territory. On second and 10, Skinner threw a perfect pass to the east side of the endzone and Slate made a great catch to give Marshall the go-ahead lead at 28-21.
Cody Slate led the Marshall receivers with 7 catches for 84 yards and two TDs against the Green Wave.
Tulane then drove to the Marshall 22-yard line on the next drive, as QB Ricard hit passes all the way down the sidelines. The Tulane quarterback came up short on fourth down at the 22 when his pass was tipped away by Ian Hoskins. Ricard hit for 262 yards on 26-of-46, but threw two interceptions in the game.
Skinner would drive the Herd 78 yards for its next score, and the drive was started with a 10=yard run by Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw topped 100 yards rushing for the fourth game in the last five, ending with 22 carries for 138 yards. He also had his best night of the season catching the ball with seven catches for 44 yards.
Josh Johnson also had an interception of Tulane's Lester Ricard, and returned it 39 yards into Marshall territory.
Skinner then hit tight end Brian Shope for 23 yards and, after a short run by Bradshaw, found Slate for 13 more yards. The two Herd tight ends (Slate and Shope) combined for 10 catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns. After Skinner scrambled for one yard, he found a wide open Emmanuel Spann for a 28-yard touchdown and a 35-21 lead.
On the kickoff, Marshall's Jon Moravec forced a fumble by Fred Smith on the return and Jeremy Frazie recovered at the Tulane 26-yard line. Five plays later, Skinner fired his third scoring pass to Bradshaw from 11 yards out to set the final score at 42-21.
The Marshall defense stopped Tulane for the final time when third team running back Ade Tuyo, in due to injuries to starter Matt Forte and backup Ray Boudreaux, was held to no gain on fourth and two at the Marshall 22-yard line by Matt Couch and Albert McClellan. Couch led the Herd with a career-best 17 tackles, three solos, a tackle for loss, two passes broken up and a quarterback hurry. McClellan had nine tackles, two hurries and one-half tackle for loss, while C.J. Spillman (11) and Curtis Keyes (10) combined at the safety for 21 tackles.
Ahmad Bradshaw hit paydirt in the fourth quarter, scoring from 11 yards out to seal the 42-21 win over Tulane.
It was the Marshall defense that helped the Herd to get the big 21-point lead in the first quarter. Morris scored with 7:24 left in the first on a eight-yard run to give MU a 7-0 lead. On Tulane's second drive, Zearrick Mathews picked off his first pass at Marshall and the redshirt freshman corner took the ball 44 yards for a score to give Marshall a 14-0 lead.
Five minutes later, the Herd went up 21-0 when Morris found Slate for his first score, a nine-yard touchdown. It was Slate's first career two-touchdown game and the true freshman tight end is now second on the team with 30 receptions. He leads the team, however, with 447 yards and five touchdowns through the air.
Morris and Skinner combined for 25-of-33 for 340 yards passing and four touchdowns, while the Herd ran for 134 yards rushing with one touchdown on the ground by Morris.
Josh Johnson added an interception with a 39 yard return, while Chubb Small had three kickoff returns for 58 yards. Ian O'Connor punted three times for a 43.3 yard average, had a long of 55 yards and pinned Tulane inside the 20-yard line once.
Marshall will travel to East Carolina for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff next Saturday in a game that could give the winner an inside track toward the East Division title in Conference USA. Marshall will still have a home game with UTEP and a season finale at Southern Miss after the trip to ECU.