It was part of a totally dominant performance for the Herd defense. On top of shutting down the Panthers' run game. Marshall gave up just 167 yards on 15-of-29 passing. Cornerback Darryl Roberts picked off an E.J. Hilliard pass, and eight different defenders had a hand in seven sacks, half of the 14 tackles for loss the Herd recorded in the game.
After giving up a field goal to open the game, linebacker Jermaine Holmes said the defense knew it had to buckle down so the offense could get rolling
"We just knew we had the offense's back," said Holmes, who led Marshall with seven tackles and a sack. "We just knew we needed to get a stop and get them the ball as much as possible. They're going to put up points."
Holmes said a repeat performance will be crucial when the Herd faces East Carolina on Friday at noon on CBS Sports Network for the Conference USA East Division crown. The Herd would like to continue its streak of stinginess on third down. FIU could convert just 4 of 17 third downs, and Tulsa could convert only 3 of 17 the week before.
"Anytime you can get off the field on third down, that's what you have to do," Holliday said. "We've done a better job of getting that done this year, and it's going to be critical on Friday."
HOSKINS WASN'T the only record-setting receiver on Saturday. Junior Tommy Shuler broke new ground in Herd history, becoming the first Marshall receiver to record two 80-catch seasons in his career. His six catches for 74 yards and a touchdown against FIU put him right at the 80-reception mark for this season. He set the Herd single-season record for catches last year with 110.
Shuler now has 204 catches in his Herd career, good for sixth all-time in the Marshall record books. What was extra special, the Miami native Shuler said, was that he was able to reach those marks in front of his mom.
"My mom hasn't come to Huntington," he said. "She came to this game, so I'm really proud of that. I wanted to do it for my family and now I want a championship."
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.