RUSTON, La. — The Herd made a business trip … and business ended up booming.
The Marshall football team remained unbeaten and surged back into the Associated Press top 25 rankings following a 35-17 victory over host Louisiana Tech on Saturday in a Conference USA matchup at Joe Aillet Stadium.
The Thundering Herd (4-0, 2-0 CUSA East) led by as many as 25 points in the wire-to-wire triumph as the guests moved to 4-0 for the first time since 2014, the last and only time that MU captured the CUSA championship.
The 18-point decision also catapulted the Green and White back into the AP rankings for a second time this season. The Herd is currently 22nd in the latest AP poll.
The combination of a powerful running attack and a stout defensive effort against the run enabled Marshall to dominate the game as MU claimed the time of possession battle by more than 10 minutes (35:31 to 24:29).
The Herd churned out 175 yards on 47 carriers and finished the day with a 402-267 advantage in total yards of offense. The Bulldogs (3-2, 2-1), conversely, managed only seven rushing yards on 24 attempts.
Eli Neal came up with an interception on Marshall’s first defensive series, then the guests covered 38 yards in 10 plays to take a permanent lead. Grant Wells scored on a 1-yard run with 5:36 left in the opening canto for a 7-0 edge.
LTU countered with a 12-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 35-yard field goal by Jacob Barnes with 10:04 remaining in the half, making it a 7-3 contest.
The hosts were never closer as the Herd produced a 12-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a Brenden Knox 1-yard run for a 14-3 lead with 1:57 left until halftime.
After an interception on its first drive of the second half, MU put together an 8-play, 51-yard drive on its second possession. Knox plunged in from seven yards out at the 7:34 mark of the third for a 21-3 cushion.
The Bulldogs, however, answered with a 5-play, 77-yard drive that was capped on a 12-yard scoring pass from Luke Anthony to Adrian Hardy with 5:41 remaining for a 21-10 contest.
The Thundering Herd responded with a 5-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 46-yard pass from Wells to Artie Henry, making it a 28-10 lead with 3:09 remaining in the third period.
Marshall added its final score of the day at the 11:03 mark of the fourth as Corey Gammage hauled in a 26-yard pass from Wells, capping an 11-play, 85-yard drive for its largest lead of the night at 35-10.
Isaiah Graham pulled in 9-yard pass from Aaron Allen with 36 seconds left in regulation to wrap up the 18-point outcome.
Despite finishing the day minus-1 in turnover differential, the guests claimed a 25-17 edge in first downs and was also penalized five times for 69 yards. Louisiana Tech was flagged three times for 23 yards.
Knox led MU with 125 rushing yards on 32 carries with Wells adding 27 yards on six attempts while also completing 19-of-24 passes for 227 yards, including two TDs and an interception. Sheldon Evans also amassed 21 yards on six totes.
Gammage led the wideouts with five catches for 65 yards. Eight different Marshall receivers caught at least one pass as well.
The Thundering Herd defense produced six sacks and nine tackles for loss, with Darius Hodge leading that charge with 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss. Tavante Beckett led the guests with eight tackles and also had 1.5 tackles for loss.
Israel Tucker paced Louisiana Tech with 20 rushing yards on four carries, while Luke Anthony went 18-of-25 passing for 180 yards that included one touchdown and one pick. Hardy led the hosts with nine catches for 102 yards.
Trey Baldwin led the Bulldogs with 16 tackles. Cedric Woods came up with an interception and Joren Dickey recovered a fumble in the setback.
Marshall returns to action Saturday when it welcomes Florida Atlantic for Homecoming at 2:30 p.m.
The Thundering Herd also announced that they have picked up a Nov. 7 game with visiting Massachusetts.
© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.