""We just got in there and worked our offense, man," Hill said after the game. "We had 12 days to practice, and we were clicking on all cylinders.
Marshall QB Stan Hill scores the game-winning TD with only :05 left in the game.
The game proved to be all that was billed, and then some. Without starting QB Byron Leftwich and numerous injuries from the Akron game, Marshall overcame a perceived advantage by Miami to seal the lead in the MAC East divisional race with the win. The win was Marshall's fifth win over the RedHawks since rejoining the MAC in 1997.
Darius Watts caught three Hill TD passes in the game, good for 9 catches overall and 149 yards. Hill filled Leftwich's shoes in fine fashion, throwing for 292 yards on 25-of-32 attempts.
Marshall jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter, courtesy of Watts' 11 yard TD catch (set up by Orlando Washington's interception of Miami's Ben Roethlisberger) and Curtis Head's 43-yard field goal. Miami answered with a 27-yard field goal of their own to close out the quarter, down 10-3.
"We felt all along that (Stan Hill) was going to be a really good player," said Marshall coach Bob Pruett. "For the first game he's started since high school, and to come in and do the job he did, is a tremendous feat on his part."
Marshall held the lead in the game until 6:33 left in the fourth quarter. Miami's Luke Clemens ran in from 17 yards out for the touchdown, and the RedHawks suddenly had their first lead of the game at 34-29.
In typical Marshall dramatic fashion that harkened back to the '99 MAC Championship win and '01 GMAC Bowl comeback, Stan Hill started the game-winning drive facing 60 yards to go, with only 1:39 left on the clock. Three consecutive first down passes (two to Davis, one to Watts) advanced the ball to the Miami 16 yard line in only 30 seconds of play. Another Stan Hill rush was good for 7 yards.
"I challenged each one of them to play to their capability," Marshall coach Bob Pruett said of his team's rise to the occasion.
An incomplete pass to Watts stopped the clock, and another incomplete pass to Davis set found the Herd facing fourth-and-three on the Miami 9 yard line. Hill lobbed a deep pass in the corner of the endzone for Davis, but Miami was hit with pass interference, giving Marshall a first and goal at the two yard-line.
Hill would try Watts again in the back of the endzone, but Watts juggled the pass and Miami was called again for interference. Marshall again had a first-and-goal, but only :10 remained on the clock.
In a one-back formation, Marshall quarterback Stan Hill took the snap and dropped back. Finding no available receivers, Hill tucked the ball and took off running at the five yard-line. Leaping over a Miami defensive back on the goal line, Stan Hill singlehandedly propelled Marshall back to the top of the MAC East with the game-winning TD in just the first start of his collegiate career.
"I dropped back and I saw JD come across," Stan Hill recounted. "They all bit on JD. I saw the opening and ran it."
Miami was held to 247 yards in the air, and 127 on the ground, by the Marshall defense. Charlie Tynes led the way for Marshall with 11 tackles, with Chris Crocker (9) and Kevin Atkins (7) close behind. The Herd defense sacked Miami QB Ben Roethlisberger three times.
Marshall now stands atop the Mid-American Conference East division standings at 7-2 overall, 5-1 in MAC play. Miami falls to second place in the MAC East with the loss, at 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the MAC. The Herd now prepares to travel to Ohio University on November 23 for a 3:30 matchup, while the RedHawks host UCF on November 23 in Oxford, Ohio at 1pm.
Miami RedHawks defensive coordinator John Wauford is led away by the WV State Police after an incident ont he field following Miami's loss at Marshall on November 12, 2002.
Immediately after the game, Miami defensive coordinator John Wauford was allegedly arrested for an incident involving a Marshall fan. (See picture above) No official details were available after the game, but broadcast reports have stated that Wauford was arrested by the WV State Police and posted bond about 1 hour after the game ended.
Miami coach Terry Hoeppner declined any and all media interviews after the game.