Thundering Herd Come To Hilltop

Nothing has come easy for Marshall this season. The SMU Mustangs hope that continues.

Nothing has come easy for Marshall this season.

Despite playing Memphis -- considered, record-wise and stat-wise, one of the worst teams in the FBS this season -- the Herd found itself behind 10-0 at the break.

Marshall coach Doc Holliday, whose Herd (4-6, 3-3) won its third straight game with a 28-13 win over Memphis (0-6, 1-9) on Saturday, said no one panicked in the locker room while the band played.

"These kids did a great job of preparation," Holliday said to the Charleston Gazette. "There weren't any magic talks. We didn't yell and scream and jump up and down and throw Gatorade coolers and all that. We went in there and coached them up."

It worked. Marshall's offense started to do what the Herd defense had done the entire game, taking control with 14 points in each of the final two quarters, while holding the Tigers to just three points the rest of the way.

"Coaches did a nice job of going in, (and) made good adjustments," Holliday said. "We just told them, 'Hey guys, we're fine. Come out and play the way you're capable of playing in the second half and we'll go win this game.' They did that."

Brian Anderson, who was picked off in the first half, leading to a Memphis field goal and the 10-0 lead, threw for three touchdowns to a trio of receivers after the break. Anderson finished the game with 251 yards, completing 20 of 28 attempts.

Anderson's play was key since Marshall's injury-plagued tailback corps was down to a walk-on running back. Tight end Lee Smith had his second straight big game, snagging seven passes for 73 yards and a score. He now has 16 receptions and three touchdowns in his last two games.

Defensively, Marshall -- which had allowed 164 yards in the opening half -- gave up just 241 for the game. The Herd had three sacks -- including one apiece from Mario Harvey and Vinny Curry -- while Harvey also had three of Marshall's eight tackles for loss. Marshall also had six pass breakups and five quarterback hurries.

"The defense really did a great job of keeping us in it," Anderson told the Herald-Dispatch. "In the second half, we just came out and put it on them and continued throughout. That's the most points we've put up this year."

Marshall, which scored a season-high 31 points the previous week at UAB, was able to get a third straight win on the 40th anniversary of the 1970 plane crash that killed 75 Thundering Herd players, coaches, administrators and fans.

Holliday was pleased with the second half, with the Herd surging for a win for the third week in a row.

"I was just so proud of our guys after that second half," Holliday told the Herald-Dispatch. "For the last three weeks, our guys have learned how to overcome adversity. It's great to see."

Up next is a lengthy trip to Dallas to face Southern Methodist. The Mustangs are tied with Tulsa for first place in the West Division. The Herd need the win to keep hopes alive for a bowl bid.

Call it a big game ahead for the Herd, and SMU. Marshall has never won a game in Texas.

"We've got to do things that never have been done in the past here," Anderson told the Herald-Dispatch. "We said a long time ago it was one game at a time. That's the attitude we have to maintain.

"We have to come out this week and practice the way we've been practicing and stay focused the way we've been focused. And go down there and do our best and, hopefully, come out on top."

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