BLACKSBURG, VA—Marshall was good but not quite good enough Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg. The Thundering Herd saw a 21-14 lead slip away in the fourth quarter and dropped another heartbreaker 29-21 to Virginia Tech in triple-overtime.
Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas took matters into his own hands in the third overtime and rushed for a two-yard touchdown then kept the ball on the required two-point conversion try and put the Hokies up by eight leaving Marshall with only a chance to tie and force a fourth overtime. However, The Herd came up empty and saw yet another game it could have won slip away.
“I’m proud of the kids,” said coach Doc Holliday. “I’m proud of the way they played, but we all know there are no moral victories at Marshall. We came here to win that football game. Tech made just one more play at the end than we did.”
Mistakes and missed opportunities came back to bite Marshall again in a game that saw The Herd’s defense continually stifle Virginia Tech’s offense.
The Herd got off to an auspicious start. Facing 4th and 24 at its own 34-yard line, Virginia Tech’s storied special teams charged punter Tyler Williams and blocked his first punt attempt. Not only did the Hokies block the punt, Derek DiNardo picked the ball up at the 11 and ran it into the endzone for the first touchdown of the game.
The special teams touchdown would loom large as Marshall’s defense held Virginia Tech to just two scoring drives throughout the game. The Hokies’ only other scores came in the first and fourth quarters. Logan Thomas rushed for a two-yard touchdown run with 1:27 left in the first quarter. Virginia Tech wouldn’t find the endzone again until the 3:09 mark in the fourth quarter when Thomas flipped a two-yard touchdown pass to Willie Byrn.
Marshall’s scoring came in a flurry in the first and second quarters. Marshall turned up the speed and went “turbo” on offense and ran off scoring drives in 3:16, 2:28 and 2:11. Devon Smith snagged a 12-yard pass from Rakeem Cato to get Marshall on the board with 7:56 to go in the first quarter tying the game a 7-7.
On the next drive, Cato scrambled out of the pocket and scampered four yards for a score. Marshall took its first lead of the game with 9:06 to play in the half on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Cato to Hoskins. Marshall would hold that advantage till 3:09 left in the game.
However, Marshall failed to capitalize on Hokie mistakes and strong defensive stands. With The Herd up 21-14, Nevell Hewitt intercepted Logan Thomas, giving Marshall the ball on Virginia Tech’s 40-yard line. But Marshall could not do anything with the field position and the turnover. Marshall ran four plays and was force to punt.
In the second half, Marshall forced Virginia Tech to go for it on fourth down and twice The Herd’s defense stood tall and got the turnover on downs. However, the offense could not pad its lead.
Even in overtime Marshall had it’s opportunties. The Herd won the toss and went on defense to start overtime. Virgina Tech could not move the ball and was left with trying a 50-yard field goal attempt in the driving rain. The kick didn’t come close and Marshall had a chance to win. The Herd rain three consecutive run plays up the middle and trotted out Justin Haig to attempt a 39-yard field goal in the same downpour. The kick was blocked and the rest is history.
Marshall falls to 2-2 on the season. The Herd is off next week and will return to Joan C. Edward Stadium on Oct. 5 to take on the University of Texas San Antonio.