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Herd Beats Rice 24-20

The Thundering Herd’s season hung in the balance as Rice lined up with the football and the lead at their own 11 yard line and just 3:38 left in the game. The plan was simple. Rice just needed to hold on to the football and run the clock out.
Enter Vinny Curry. 
On first down, the Owls handed off to Sam McGuffie, but the Herd’s defensive end chased down the speedy back and stripped the football from behind. Monterious Lovett was there to pounce on it for The Herd setting up the game winning touchdown as The Herd downed the Owls 24-20.
“Vinny is an unbelievable kid,” said Holliday. “He didn’t get back here until last night and didn’t practice all week.”
Curry, who attended his mother’s funeral this week, had a monster game racking up nine tackles, 3.5 sacks and 4 tackles for loss.
“Before the game I just asked God to send me a sign that my mother made it there safely and if that was the sign then, praise God,” an emotional Curry said after the game.
Curry’s strip and Lovett’s recovery set up the game winning drive for a Marshall offense that had trouble moving the ball most of the day. The Herd got the ball back on the 22 yard line and used just five plays, four runs and a pass, to get the ball to the endzone. Tron Martinez crossed the goal line for the game winning score on a five yard TD run with just 1:52 left on the clock.
Just like at Louisville, it was the defense creating a turnover deep inside the opposition’s territory that setup a game winning score. 
“The number one thing is to play great defense,” reiterated Holliday. 
The Herd’s offense came out of the gate and appeared to be energized by the switch at quarterback as Marshall jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead mostly behind the rushing of A.J. Graham, who made his first start of the season. Marshall scored on two of its first three drives of the game, an 11 play 69 yard drive and an 11 play 87 yard drive that were both capped off by A.J. Graham touchdown runs. 
“I had mixed emotions going into the game,” said Graham, who finished the day with 136 yards rushing on 36 carries. “I was excited and nervous all at the same time.”
Following the two quick scores the Marshall offense went dormant a big part of the remainder of the game. After going up 14-0, Marshall punted four times, turned the ball over on downs once and threw an interception.
Rice took advantage of the offensive woes of Marshall and converted a pair of field goals in the second quarter then put 14 unanswered points of their own on the scoreboard in the third quarter. Rice scored on a 49 yard pass from Taylor McHargue to Vance McDonald then Sam McGuffie punched it in with 4:08 left in the third quarter to give Rice its first lead of the game. Rice outgained the Herd 175-52 in the third stanza.
The Herd finished the day with 328 yards of total offense, with 217 yards of that coming on the ground. A.J. Graham became the first Marshall quarterback to rush for over 100 yards since Bernard Morris ran for 126 yards against ECU in 2007.
Rice collected 361 yards of total offense. McHargue threw for 150 yards and McGuffie rushed for 71 yards on ten carries.
Marshall hits the road next week to face C-USA Western Division foe Houston.

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