HUNTINGTON – Perfect days have been few and far between for the last six months as the world has been mired in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Marshall’s near flawless 59-0 win over Eastern Kentucky Saturday gave Herd fans a brief return to something that resembled normal.
It was the perfect day.
Marshall Athletics Director Mike Hamrick could not have written a better script for the culmination of weeks of planning, testing and hundreds of hours preparation. The weather, sunny and temperatures in the 70s, was perfect for the limited number of fans admitted to the stadium, to watch a watch a homegrown quarterback put up the best debut performance in Marshall history.
Grant Wells’ 307 yards passing were the most for a Thundering Herd quarterback debut and his four touchdowns tied the first-game performances of Chase Litton, in 2015, and Stan Hill, in 2002.
“That’s awesome to be mentioned in the same as the guys who have come before because I know Marshall has a rich history of quarterbacks,” Wells said.
Brenden Knox picked up right where left off last season when he was named the conference’s Most Valuable Player. Knox ran for 85 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown. Sheldon Evans, who was named a captain for Saturday’s game, got to the end zone.
Aside from letting the clock run out at the end of the first half, Marshall’s starting offense found pay dirt every time it had the ball.
Luke Zban, who attended high school just up the road at Huntington High, connected with University High graduate Amir Richardson, each notching their first touchdowns. The scoring toss made it three generations of Zbans to throw touchdowns for the Herd.
Marshall’s defense dominated the Colonels, limiting EKU to 166 yards of total offense, 80 yards passing and 86 on the ground.
Even Doc Holliday, who preaches that there are always ways to improve, had a hard time finding anything critical to say about his team’s performance.
Finally after months of anticipation, fans got to enjoy Thundering Herd football and didn’t have to think about color-coded maps or case numbers.
It was a perfect day at the Joan that Marshall needed to start the 2020 season.
It was the perfect day that we all needed.