Ahmad Bradshaw scored the most touchdowns by a Marshall back since 1940, and missed the record of six scores in 1916 on a holding penalty late, as the Thundering Herd rolled over the UTEP Miners. Bradshaw rushed for 261 yards, just one short of Ron Darby's record of 262 yards against Western Carolina in 1988, and scored five touchdowns, the most at Marshall since Jackie Hunt scored five against Detroit Tech in 1940. Wilbur Fisher holds the all-time record with six touchdowns in a 101-0 win over Kentucky Wesleyan in 1916, the Herd's biggest all-time win.
Bradshaw fumbled one touchdown chance early in the game, but even that turned into a score when Cody Slate picked up the ball and ran it into the end zone.
Ahmad Bradshaw stiff-armed UTEP's Quentin Demps on his way to five TDs against the Miners on Saturday night, along with 261 yards. photos by Greg Perry/HI staff
Marshall improved to 5-6, 4-3 in Conference USA, and has a chance to become bowl eligible with a win at Southern Miss next Saturday in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in a 7:30 p.m. game on CSTV. MU could even finish in a three-way tie for first in the East Division by beating Southern Miss, as ECU, USM and MU could all finish 5-3 in league play. East Carolina, however, has beaten both Marshall and Southern Miss and will advance to the Conference USA championship where they will meet the Cougars in Houston. UTEP falls to 5-6, 3-4 in C-USA, and must win over 1-10 Memphis to reach bowl eligibility.
Josh Johnson rushed UTEP QB Jordan Palmer in the second half.
The Thundering Herd rushed for 259 yards on the night, while passing for 135 against the Miners. Jimmy Skinner hit for just five of 13 passes, but threw one touchdown to freshman Courtney Edmondson, the freshman wide outs first career touchdown at Marshall.
Cody Slate ran away from UTEP's Josh Ferguson in the second half. Slate led al Marshall receivers on the night.
On the defensive side, Marshall intercepted three passes, recovered two fumbles and held UTEP to 21 points despite 376 passing yards for Jordan Palmer. Albert McClellan, who had 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks last week in the loss at ECU, continued his monster sophomore season with 3.0 sacks of Palmer, 3.0 tackles for loss and five tackles. Seniors Curtis Keyes (game best 13 tackles), Dennis Thornton (7 tackles, one fumble recovery to set up touchdown and a 28 yard interception return) and Matt Couch (6 tackles, fumble recovery to set up touchdown and a pass broken up) really came to play on Senior Day.
UTEP struck first, scoring on James Thomas' 13-yard run, his career first. Marshall would only completed one pass in the first half. The Herd threw an interception on the second drive and fumbled at the goal line. But none of that seemed to matter, as the Herd surged to a 35-14 halftime lead, despite being out-gained 252 to 209 in the first half and having the ball five minutes less than the UTEP Miners.
Freshman cornerback Ashton Hall also picked up his first career start and first interception and Couch's fumble came on a backwards pass tipped by senior defensive end Shavar Greer. Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Herd to the biggest scoring half of the Mark Snyder era. Often taking a direct snap that reminded long-time Herd fans of the Cam Henderson era single-wing, Bradshaw pushed his season total over 1,300 yards, the fifth-best rushing season ever by a Herd back.
Marshall kicker Anthony Binswanger scored this two-point conversion against UTEP, taking a pitch from holder Ian O'Connor and running it into the end zone.
Jimmy Skinner relieved Bernard Morris, but the Herd was 0-for-6 with an interception until the senior quarterback hit Edmondson for the TD. The Herd scored four touchdowns in the second quarter, two by Bradshaw. He would have had a third, but fumbled at the one-yard line. Cody Slate, who caught three passes for 83 yards, picked up the fumble by Bradshaw and ran the ball four yards into the endzone to give the Herd a 21 point lead at the half.
Bradshaw would tack on two touchdowns in the second half to set the final score. UTEP saw Palmer try to match Bradshaw with a 33-of-47 passing day, but the quarterback only had one touchdown on the day. Johnny Lee Higgins gave UTEP its only score of the second half with a dazzling 65 yard touchdown reception, but 42-21 would be as close as the Miners would get to the Herd.