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Marshall football: Herd falls to Tulsa, 45-38

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – There was no unit on Marshall's football team that could celebrate its accomplishments after Saturday night's 45-38 loss to Tulsa.

The defense –which held the Golden Hurricane to 340 total yards, its lowest total allowed to a Football Bowl Subdivision team this season – gave up the game-winning touchdown with 8:25 left in the game. The special teams – which forced a fumble on a second-quarter kickoff that allowed the Thundering Herd to tie the game at halftime – gave up a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third.

And the offense – which gained 572 yards against one of the nation's best defenses – committed three turnovers and couldn't tie the game on its final drive with four shots inside Tulsa's red zone.

Put it all together, and it leaves the Herd at 2-4 on the season, 1-1 in Conference USA and looking for answers as it enters its bye week.

"At the end of the game, we have to find a way to get it done," Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said. "We had a couple opportunities go in and score to tie the game … and we didn't get it done. So we have to go back to work and get better."

At the beginning of the game, it was Marshall's offense that did its defense no favors. The Herd gave the ball back to Tulsa (5-1, 3-0 Conference USA) on its first two drives. Two plays into the first drive, tight end Gator Hoskins fumbled the ball away at Marshall's 46. Two plays into the second drive, quarterback Rakeem Cato threw an interception right into the hands of Tulsa defensive back Lowell Rose at Marshall's 38. 

Yet the defense stayed solid, allowing just a field goal on Tulsa's first drive after facing two short fields. Tulsa finally broke through near the end of the first, when 260-pound tailback Alex Singleton charged through Marshall's defense on fourth and 1 for a 48-yard touchdown to give the Hurricane a 10-3 lead.

After that, it became a shootout with each team playing to its strengths. The Herd was most successful with the pass, completing 32 of 45 attempts for 403 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Tulsa stuck with the run, gaining 250 yards on 53 carries. Yet it was the arm of Tulsa quarterback Cody Green that gave the Hurricane the win. 

On Tulsa's final drive, Green hit Keyarris Garrett for a 47-yard completion. A horse-collar tackle by Marshall's Derrick Thomas tacked on seven more yards and put Tulsa on Marshall's 7. Three plays later, Green found Jordan James for a four-yard score and threw a two-point conversion to Thomas Roberson. 

Marshall had a chance to tie the game with less than two minutes to go, getting as close as Tulsa's 17. The Herd's hopes ended when Marco Nelson batted away Cato's pass to Antavious Wilson in the end zone.

Cato completed 31 of 44 passes Saturday for 391 yards, three touchdowns and the pick. Aaron Dobson caught 10 passes for 128 yards, while Wilson caught seven for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Kevin Grooms led Marshall with 71 rushing yards on 16 carries.

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DOBSON AND WILSON'S 100-plus-yard games mark the first time since Sept. 5, 2009 that the Herd had two 100-yard receivers in the same game. On that day, Chuck Walker (119) and Cody Slate (114) eclipsed the mark against Southern Illinois. Dobson and Wilson are tied for 10th on Marshall's all-time receptions list with 150. 

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LINEBACKER D.J. HUNTER scooped up a botched extra point and ran it back for two points in the third quarter. It was the first such score for Marshall since Oct. 30, 2010, when Donald Brown intercepted a pass and took it back for two against the University of Texas at El Paso.

-- Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall.


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