Saturday November 9, 2013
Marshall football: Herd becomes bowl-eligible with 56-14 win over UAB
Marshall Coach Doc Holliday discusses the Herd's win over UAB.
Page 2 of 2
The Blazers mostly stuck with the run against Marshall, much like they did last week against Middle Tennessee, when they threw nine times and ran 56. The ratio was a little more even Saturday – 17 passes to 56 runs – and UAB relied on running backs Darrin Reaves (98 yards) and Jordan Howard (123 yards) to gain 288 yards on the ground.
But the Herd defense pounded on a pair of first-half fumbles to pull away and enjoy a comfortable three-touchdown halftime lead. The first came on the third play of the game, when Neville Hewitt forced a fumble on a Jonathan Perry sack and Brandon Sparrow recover at the Marshall 12. That led to Taliaferro's first touchdown. The second came in the second quarter. UAB had cut Marshall's lead to 28-14 on a Perry-to-Reaves touchdown throw, then blocked a 38-yard Justin Haig field goal attempt and, on the ensuing drive, got to the Herd 25. That was when Taj Letman forced a Howard fumble at the Herd 10 that Gary Thompson recovered at the 11.
With 1:36 left in the half, Cato led Marshall on a five-play, 89-yard touchdown drive highlighted by a 50-yard bomb from Cato to tight end Gator Hoskins and ending with Cato's scoring pass to Grooms.
"It's never good to turn the ball over, especially when you're driving that far," said UAB offensive lineman Cameron Blankenship. "It decreased our morale. It kind of sucked the win out of us a bit."
The Herd has a quick turnaround for its next game, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Tulsa. Marshall has never beaten the Golden Hurricane, and the players know they must if they want to move past the goal of bowl eligibility and toward the goal of a conference title.
"I haven't been focusing on being bowl eligible," Letman said. "I'm focusing on a conference championship. We're not trying to be a 6-6 'happy to be in a bowl game' type of team."
– 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.