ANNAPOLIS, Md. — If the Charles Huff era is seeking to right the ship, then Marshall is off to a great start.
Thundering Herd football opened its 2021 campagin with a 49-7 road win against the Navy Midshipmen Saturday afternoon.
The first Marshall touchdown of the season came just a couple minutes into the ballgame, when freshman running back Rasheen Ali scored his first of four touchdowns on the day.
Starting quarterback Grant Wells also had a good start on his first drive, hitting sophomore wide receiver Talik Keaton with a 47-yard pass on the first play of the game.
The Herd’s air attack was their bread and butter in Saturday’s ballgame, accounting for 363 of their 464 total yards.
However, the run game (101 yards) was what got points on the board, netting six of the seven Marshall touchdowns.
The Herd defense was also stout Saturday, stopping the Midshipmen on all six of their offensive drives in the first half, including a blocked field goal, a turnover on downs and four sacks.
The home team’s best shot at a touchdown in the first half came on the final drive of the second quarter, getting all the way to the Herd’s six-yard line.
However, the defense held off the attack, leading to a 21-0 split at halftime.
The host’s dry spell ended at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a short run for a touchdown, but by then it was too late to stage a comeback.
The Green and White scored three unanswered touchdowns from then on to seal the victory.
Wells led the Herd in passing, notching 330 yards on 20 completions. He also had two interceptions.
Backup QB Luke Zban came in towards the end of the game, only having 1 completion for 30 yards, but that completion happened to be the Herd’s only passing touchdown of the day.
Keaton was the Herd’s favorite receiving target in Saturday’s game, with 100 yards on five catches, followed by Corey Gammage (7-94) and Xavier Gaines (2-61).
On the ground, Ali led the way for his team, getting 59 yards and four touchdowns.
Defensively, the Herd was led by Abrah Beauplan, who recorded 13 tackles.
He was followed by EJ Jackson (12 tackles) and Eli Neal (11 tackles, three tackles for loss and three sacks).
The Thundering Herd’s 42-point victory is the largest in a season opener against a fellow Football Bowl Subdivision team since a 38-point win against Miami (Ohio) at the beginning of the 2013 season.
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Colton Jeffries can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.