NORFOLK, Va. — There will be no bowl game for Marshall this season.
With a 38-14 loss in Saturday’s Conference USA tilt at Old Dominion, the Thundering Herd fell to 2-7 on the season and, with just three games left, MU will not reach the six-win mark required for bowl eligibility.
The Monarchs (6-3, 4-1 CUSA) — who have now won back-to-back games and five out of their last six — scored on the game’s opening drive as Jonathan Duhart scored on a nine-yard pass from David Washington.
After forcing Marshall (2-7, 1-4) into a three-and-out, ODU drove 79 yards for its second touchdown of the game, which came on a 33-yard Ray Lawry run. Old Dominion place kicker Brad Davis was 2-for-2 on first quarter extra-point kicks, making the hosts’ lead 14-0 with 7:05 remaining in the opening period.
With just 35 seconds left in the opening period, Marshall cut the deficit in half, as Chase Litton found Ryan Yurachek for a five-yard scoring pass and Amoreto Curraj made the point-after kick.
ODU extended its lead back to 14, as it scored on its first drive of the second period, when Zach Pascal hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Washington, and Davis made the point-after kick.
Neither team could score again before the half, leaving the Herd behind 21-7. In the first half, ODU held a 15-to-5 advantage in first downs and a 281-to-122 edge in total offense.
The Thundering Herd went three-and-out to start the second half, which led to a 68-yard ODU scoring drive. Old Dominion’s 5-play, 1:59 drive was capped off by a three-yard pass from Washington to Travis Fulgham and an extra-point by Davis.
After five consecutive three and outs — three by MU and two by ODU — the Monarchs were back on the scoreboard, as Davis made a 20-yard field goal, with 36 seconds left in the third.
After forcing the Herd to punt for the seventh time in the game with 12:53 left in the game, the Monarchs went 63 yards in 9:45, increasing the lead to 38-7. The 17th play of the drive was a one-yard scoring run by Blake Larussa, which was followed by a successful extra-point kick by Davis.
Marshall scored on its final drive of the game, as — with two second left in regulation — Emmanuel Byrd caught a 22-yard touchdown by from Garet Morrell. Curraj made the extra-point kick, putting the final touches on the 38-14 setback.
For the game, Marshall was outgained 461-to-214, including 262-to-76 on the ground. ODU also held a 26-to-10 advantage in first downs. Neither team committed a turnover in the game.
Litton was 17-of-26 passing for 87 yards with one touchdown for the Herd, while Morrell was 3-for-3 for 51 yards and one score.
Tony Pittman led the guests on the ground with 52 yards on nine carries, followed by Hyleck Foster with 28 yards on four tries.
Josh Knight led the MU receiving corp with 34 yards on six catches, while Foster added 12 yards on four receptions. Byrd Yurachek both had 26 yards and one touchdown on three and two catches respectively.
Defensively, Marshall was led by Corey Neely with 11 tackles, followed by Chase Hancock and Nyquan Harris with eight each. Ty Tyler came up with a sack for the Herd, while Harris and Frankie Hernandez combined for another sack. Rodney Allen forced a fumble, his fourth of the season, an broke up two passes in the setback.
For the hosts, Washington completed 16-of-27 pass attempts for 199 yards and three scores.
Lawry posted a game-best 209 yards with one score on 27 carries. Duhart paced Old Dominion’s receivers with five catches for 68 yards and one score.
Oshane Ximines had a pair of sacks to lead the ODU defense, while Brandon Addison had five pass break-ups.
The Herd returns to Huntington on Saturday, where it will host 6-3 Middle Tennessee State. ODU will play host to 5-4 Southern Miss on Saturday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.