HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- It was supposed to be a battle between the top two offenses in Conference USA.
The Marshall football team's defense made it a one-sided knockout.
Thanks to two early interceptions, the Thundering Herd sprinted out to a 17-point first-quarter lead and rode that to a 34-10 win over the University of Texas at San Antonio in a Saturday afternoon homecoming bout at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
It's the third straight season that Marshall (3-2, 1-0 C-USA) has won its opening conference game.
The Herd did it by holding the Roadrunners (2-4, 1-1 C-USA) to 177 yards below its season average and intercepting three Eric Soza passes. UTSA had gained 431 yards per game entering Saturday's contest and gained just 252 yards versus Marshall.
"To be honest with you, I had major concerns with that football team coming in," Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said about UTSA. "I know you guys all think I don't know what I'm talking about at times, but I thought that football team, to be just three years into their program, it's amazing what they've accomplished. Going into that game ... I didn't know how successful we'd be at being able to stop them.
"But Coach Heater and that defensive staff did a tremendous job," he continued. "We tried to take away their perimeter runs and we were able to do that. The turnovers were huge and the defense just keeps getting better."
UTSA's first two drives lasted a total of nine plays and both ended in Soza interceptions off deflected passes. The first went just three plays until defensive end Alex Bazzie batted a Soza pass and linebacker Evan McKelvey reeled it in for the pick he returned 13 yards to the Roadrunners 42. The second drive went six plays, but that time it was defensive end Gary Thompson who swatted Soza's pass for end Ra'Shawde Myers to intercept at the UTSA 38.
Marshall's offense turned those turnovers into 10 points. After the McKelvey pick, the Herd got to the UTSA 16 for a 33-yard Justin Haig field goal. The Herd got a touchdown on the next drive after quarterback Rakeem Cato found tight end Devon Johnson for a 17-yard score.