Opening Appy-Tizer: Marshall 50, App. State 17

A stellar 264-yard receiving performance by Josh Davis sparked #19 Marshall to a 50-17 season-opening win over 1-AA Appalachian State Saturday night at Marshall Stadium, in front of 31,042.

However, Marshall's 33- point win wasn't exactly the cakewalk some thought it would be. Appalachian State drew first blood in the game, courtesy of a Josh Davis fumble on Marshall's 18 yard line in the first quarter. The Mountaineers turned the turnover into 7 quick points just four plays later when Joey Hoover ran in from 2 yards out for the touchdown.

Marshall sputtered on the ensuing drive, and had to settle for a Curtis Head 31-yard field goal.

"I thought we were a little sloppy tonight," said Marshall coach Bob Pruett. "Defensively, we were sharp tonight. Offensively, we were not sharp tonight. We scored a bunch of points, got some yards, but we weren't as sharp as we needed to be."

Once the #19 Herd got things rolling, quarterback Byron Leftwich kept the train going full steam ahead. The second quarter saw Marshall put up three unanswered touchdowns to take a 23-10 lead at halftime.

MU's Josh Davis runs away from ASU's Erik Crutchfield en route to Davis's 76-yard touchdown catch.

In the second half, it was more of the same. Appalachian State's final score came on DaVon Fowlkes' beautiful 87 yard punt return with 6:04 left in the third quarter. In the span of 7:51, Heisman Trophy candidate and Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich led the Herd offense on three more scoring drives: Demetrius Doss' 4-yard pass, Josh Davis's 76-yard catch-and-run, and Franklin Wallace's 53-yard catch-and-run.

With the game comfortably in hand at 43-17, Leftwich came out and backup Stan Hill managed to put the Marshall offense in the end zone one final time, as Hill ran a keeper in from 4 yards out with 4:32 left in the game.

The Marshall defense held Appalachian State to just 140 yards of total offense on the night, led by Duran Smith's 8 total tackles (6 solo), and Jonathan Goddard's impressive 4 solo tackles (2 for loss) and one sack of Mountaineers QB Richie Williams.

"We've got speed, so we can get around the corners," Marshall end Jonathan Goddard said. "I was happy with what we did."

"Please praise them tonight," Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich said of the Marshall defense. "They kept us in the game in the first half."

"All the questions have been answered," said safety Chris Crocker of the Herd defense's performance. "The ends made so many plays tonight. It's a statement."

Marshall's offense turned out the big numbers it is capable of, despite the somewhat rocky first half. Leftwich completed 27-of-41 passes for 469 yards, 4 TDs passing (1 rushing), with a long pass of 76 yards to Josh Davis. Davis finished with a monstrous 11 catches for 264 yards and one TD. Franklin Wallace rushed for 71 yards, and caught one TD pass from Leftwich. In all, the Marshall offense put up a total of 634 yards.

Marshall now prepares to face the Virginia Tech Hokies on ESPN Thursday night football on September 12 in Blacksburg, VA. Game time is set for 7pm.

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