HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—Miami University’s football team went toe-to-toe with Marshall University in the first 30 minutes on Saturday night at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, playing to a 14-14 tie, but the Thundering Herd scored 38 unanswered points in the second half to notch a 52-14 win in the season opener for both teams.
Miami struck first, scoring on its second offensive series. Senior quarterback Austin Boucher launched a 45-yard pass that junior wide receiver Dawan Scott plucked out of the air between two Thundering Herd defenders on the Marshall 5-yard line. After rushing for a yard, Miami lost yardage on its second-down play, but Boucher hit senior tight end Steve Marck in the end zone on third down for the RedHawk score with 6:49 to go in the first quarter. A sophomore Kaleb Patterson extra point handed Miami the early 7-0 lead.
A 39-yard rush by Marshall’s Kevin Groom set up a Thundering Herd score at the 10:04 mark of the second quarter. Essray Taliaferro rambled into the end zone from 1 yard out for the Marshall touchdown. The Justin Haig extra point knotted the score, 7-7.
With 3:44 to go in the opening half, Marshall’s Rakeem Cato threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Shuler as he plunged out of the right side of the end zone. Haig’s extra point gave the Thundering Herd a 14-7 lead.
Sophomore running back Spencer Treadwell sprinted up the middle from two yards out for the RedHawks’ second score. Patterson’s PAT knotted the game, 14-14, with 1:25 to go in the opening half. Another superb pass from Boucher to redshirt freshman wide receiver Rokeem Williams covering 47 yards moved the RedHawks to the 11-yard line to help set up the Treadwell score. Miami covered 75 yards in five plays on the touchdown drive.
Marshall attempted a 31-yard field goal to close out the second half, but the kick was wide and the game remained deadlocked going into the half.
The Thundering Herd capitalized on the first drive of the second half, going 65 yards on eight plays over the first 1:43. The drive was capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Cato to Gator Hoskins at the 13:17 mark of the third quarter. Haig’s extra point put Marshall back on top, 21-14.
Behind a 16-yard touchdown reception by Craig Wilkins off the pass from Cato, Marshall took a two-touchdown lead in the game at the 9:23 mark of the third quarter. Haig connected on his fourth PAT to give the Thundering Herd a 28-14 lead.
Marshall extended its lead to 35-14 as Cato hit Hoskins on a 14-yard pass for their second touchdown connection of the game, both coming in the third quarter. Haig’s extra point at the 4:20 mark gave the Thundering Herd a 21-point cushion.
Haig kicked a 35-yard field goal with 13:57 to go to push the Marshall lead to 24, 38-14.
A 54-yard scoring strike from Cato to Devon Smith capped a six-play, 70-yard drive and extended the Marshall lead to 45-14 with 9:57 to play. Sixteen seconds later, Raheem Waiters picked off a Boucher pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown, furthering the Thundering Herd lead to 52-14 with 9:41 left. It was the final score of the game.
Boucher finished the game passing for 165 yards and one touchdown, connecting on 10-of-22 passes. Sophomore linebacker Kent Kern led all players with 13 tackles, while redshirt freshman defensive back Jay Mastin followed with 12 tackles, including a game-high eight solo stops. He also collected his first career interception. Senior punter Zac Murphy had a solid day, averaging 50.5 yards on nine punts.
Marshall amassed 591 yards of total offense in 94 plays. Cato led the Herd with 253 yards in the air, 59 yards on the ground and threw five touchdown passes. Steward Butler gained 107 yards rushing for Marshall.
Miami travels to Kentucky next Saturday for a noon game on Fox Sports Net.
- Miami had nine players make their first career start on Saturday night: On offense Terry Davis, Austin Green, Wesley Scott and Rokeem Williams made the start and Bryson Albright, Josh Dooley, Kent Kern, Jay Mastin and Mitch Winters made their first career starts on defense.
- Steve Marck had one career touchdown in his first 32 career games … he added the second of his career to give the RedHawks a 7-0 lead.
- J'Terius Brown recorded his first career sack in the first quarter.
- Redshirt freshman defensive back Jay Mastin recorded his first career interception, coming in the last seconds of the game.