— By Adam Rogers
NORFOLK, Va. — Marshall remains unbeaten on the road this season after pulling away late in the fourth quarter from Old Dominion for a 42-20 win in Conference USA play.
Neither the Herd nor Monarchs could find any traction in the first quarter. The two sides combined for three turnovers and just 156 yards of total offense in the first.
Marshall (4-2, 2-1) was able to cash in on the second turnover from Old Dominion (1-6, 0-4) after safety Malik Gant picked off a tipped pass for his first career interception. That’s when the Herd offense finally got things rolling in the first half.
Marshall used four plays of 14 or more yards on the drive ensuing the interception, which was capped with a 22-yard run from Anthony Anderson, who finished with three touchdowns and 91 yards on 14 carries.
After the defense forced an ODU three-and-out, the Herd methodically worked its way down the field with a balanced mix of pass and run. On third and two, Herd wideout Tyre Brady drew a pass interference in the end zone to set up his score two plays later on a fade route in the left back corner of the end zone to put Marshall up 14-0.
Marshall’s defense was stout in the first half allowing just 152 total yards and forcing three turnovers. Almost every time Old Dominion would get a big play, Marshall snapped right back to form. The Monarchs finally struck the scoreboard with 23 seconds remaining in the half on a 30-yard field goal from Nick Rice to make it 14-3 at the half.
After Anderson’s second touchdown of the game to give Marshall a 21-3 lead with 5:31 left in the third quarter, Old Dominion finally got its legs under itself offensively. The Monarchs would go on to score on three of its next four drives.
ODU quarterback Blake LaRussa threw touchdown passes of 1 and 16 yards to Travis Fulgham and Kesean Strong, respectively, and added another Rice field goal from 41 yards out to get back within one score, 28-20, with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
The Herd scored on its ensuing drive in just four plays thanks to a 65-yard sprint by Tyler King and then King would put the game away on the next Marshall drive.
The Kelly Green and White clad defense forced a turnover-on-downs after ODU picked up a first down near midfield. It seemed as if the Thundering Herd was just trying to run the clock out when it received the ball back, but King had other thoughts on his mind. The redshirt sophomore running back broke a run off the left side of the line for a 46-yard score that put the final nail in the coffin.
Marshall quarterback Alex Thomson looked much improved from his performance in last week’s loss to Middle Tennessee State. The Wagner College transfer finished 18-of-29 for 182 yards with a touchdown and interception. Thomson spread the ball around to seven different receivers, including hooking up with Brady nine times on 16 targets for 103 yards and the score.
Marshall rushed for 319 yards — the first time over 300 in just under three years (Oct. 15, 2015 at Florida Atlantic) — on 45 carries with King finishing with a career high 195 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
The Thundering Herd now returns home to face defending Conference USA Champion Florida Atlantic, who will be coming off a bye, for Homecoming next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Old Dominion remains at home next week for a meeting with Western Kentucky.