It was ugly, nasty, and downright sloppy and that was just the Marshall offense, forget about the driving rain that fell throughout Marshall’s 16-6 loss to conference rival UCF. Marshall has now dropped seven straight to the Knights and have yet to beat UCF since both schools joined C-USA.
The Herd tallied just 130 yards of total offense on a night when receivers struggled to haul in passes and the running game continued to spin its wheels. Rakeem Cato was 11 of 29 for 67 yards and Marshall could only muster 43 yards rushing on 21 carries. Marshall was also ineffective on third down, converting just 2 of 14 chances on the night.
The Herd stayed within striking distance throughout the game thanks to the defensive unit that forced three turnovers and scored the only points of the game for Marshall. Vinny Curry stripped Brynn Harvey with 3:17 left in the third quarter and Rashad Jackson was in the right place at the right time and picked up the ball and took it to the endzone for Marshall’s lone score of the game.
After UCF scored all 14 of its points in the first quarter, the Marshall defense stiffened and held the Knight’s running game in check. Brynn Harvey rushed for 106 yards in the first quarter, but was held to 74 yards in the final three.
UCF started the game off with a bang. Brynn Harvey took the first play of scrimmage and scampered 50 yards down to the Marshall 17 yard line. Six plays later, quarterback Jeff Godfrey hit A.J. Guyton from five yards out to give the Knights a 7-0 lead. The Knights were in position to go up by two touchdowns, driving inside The Herd redzone on its next series. However, on the 16 yard line, Omar Brown forced a Ronnie Weaver fumble giving the ball back to Marshall.
Marshall’s offense couldn’t get anything going on its two drives in the first quarter giving the ball back to the Knights. UCF would score its second and final touchdown of the game, using six plays to cover 69 yards. Latavius Murray ran the ball in from four yards away to give UCF a 14-0 advantage.
Marshall’s offensive woes continued throughout the first half. Pinned deep in its own territory, Marshall was flagged for holding in the endzone giving UCF free two points and a 16-0 lead.
The best drive of the game for The Herd came after a pair of three and outs in the third quarter. Marshall controlled the ball for ten plays and marched 56 yards. Cato was 3 for 6, including a 24 yard pass to Aaron Dobson. However at the UCF 26 yardline, the drive fizzled. Incomplete passes to Antavious Wilson and Troy Evans were sandwiched around a one yard run by Tron Martinez. The Herd lined up for a 40 yard field goal in the driving rain, but Justin Haig’s attempt wobbled wide left and Marshall came away empty handed.
Marshall earned just six first downs and had the ball for only 19:46 in the game. The UCF offense was on the field for a mind boggling 40:14. The Knights also collected 21 first downs and 240 yards on the ground.
Marshall will be back at Joan C. Edwards Stadium next Saturday to play host to Rice. Kickoff is set for 3:00.