The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

October 6, 2013

Herd defense dominates UTSA

Roadrunners held to season-low 254 yards in 34-10 Marshall victory

HUNTINGTON — Two weeks to prepare for an offense it hadn’t seen before was more than enough for Marshall’s defense.

The Thundering Herd never gave UTSA a chance to get going, holding the Roadrunners to a season-low 254 total yards in a 34-10 homecoming win Saturday before an announced crowd of 28,837.

UTSA’s perimeter-themed offense had not been stopped before being completely befuddled by the Herd defense. Marshall’s defensive line made it a long day for Roadrunners quarterback Eric Soza, batting and tipping several of the senior’s passes.

“To be honest with you, I had major concerns about that football team going in,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. “I know you guys think I don’t know what I’m talking about at times ... They were averaging almost 500 yards a game against good (teams). We tried to take away their perimeter runs and were able to do that.”

Marshall (3-2, 1-0 Conference USA) was coming off a bye week and had lost two in a row. The week off gave the Herd extra time to study the Roadrunners.

“The one positive about our open week was that we were preparing for a different kind of team,” Holliday said. “For us to have two weeks to prepare for the perimeter runs and the way they threw the ball was great for us.”

Tipped passes led to interceptions by Evan McKelvey and RaShawde Myers on the Roadrunners’ first two series, and the Herd turned them into 10 points.

Justin Haig kicked a 33-yard field goal at the 10:41 mark, and Cato hooked up with tight end Devon Johnson for a 17-yard touchdown.

“That was a great job with the guys up front,” Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said. “I’ve always believed with six-foot quarterbacks that you ought to get a lot of (deflections). But the quarterback’s pretty good, sliding in windows, and we didn’t knock down many balls at (Ohio, against Tyler Tettleton).

“I was pleased we did that (Saturday). It was helpful. It’s usually helpful, because the ball gets tipped, you get picks, there are incomplete passes and you get off the field again.”

Marshall led 24-0 with 5:05 left in the first half after touchdown runs of 4 yards by Essray Taliaferro and 1 yard by Steward Butler.

With the defense in control, the Herd chose to slow its usual pace in the second half. Haig’s 31-yarder on the second play of the fourth quarter made it 27-3, and a 4-yard TD pass from Cato to Demetrius Evans with 3:46 to play capped a scoring drive of 5:58 — the Herd’s longest of the season.

Cato completed 22 of 32 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns, but he was sacked five times by a defense that was able to get heat throughout much of the unseasonably warm afternoon.

“We had to slow it down a little bit in the second half,” Holliday said. “We ran some clock. We were able to run the ball and get some first downs.”

The Roadrunners (2-4, 1-1) avoided the shutout thanks to a couple of Marshall gifts.

Cato was sacked from the blind side on third-and-5 from his 16 by Robert Singletary. The Herd quarterback fumbled and the ball was recovered by Codie Brooks at the 11.

UTSA faced a third-and-13 at the 14 when Corey Tindal was flagged for defensive holding in the end zone, setting up first-and-goal at the 7.

Still, the Herd defense held and the Roadrunners had to settle for Sean Ianno’s 24-yard field goal with 31 seconds left before halftime.

Soza’s 1-yard run was the Roadrunners’ only touchdown, making it 27-10 with 9:44 to play.

Soza was 10-of-26 for a season-low 130 yards and threw three interceptions. The picks by McKelvey and Myers were the first of their careers. Redshirt freshman A.J. Leggett had his second interception of the season in the end zone to end a UTSA drive in the third quarter.

“A lot of things went wrong,” UTSA coach Larry Coker said. “We didn’t play our best, for one, and the third down was a disaster for us. We had so many third downs lost or misconverted. ... Early in the game, the tips fell their way, which was huge for Marshall. They’ve got a good football team. Let’s give them credit.”

Marshall will get back on the road next Saturday, playing at another C-USA newcomer, Florida Atlantic, in Boca Raton, Fla. Kickoff will be 5 p.m. and the game will be aired by Fox College Sports.

— E-mail: gfauber@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 072514 Loomis The Greenbrier impresses Payton, Loomis

    When a deal was finalized on March 13 to bring the New Orleans Saints to The Greenbrier for three weeks of summer camp, Saints officials never doubted that the facility would be ready a little more than four months later for the first practice. INCLUDES VIDEO.

     

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 WV Open 1 Hess Former Mountain Lions playing well at Open

    In sports like basketball or football, home field advantage can be the ultimate difference maker. The same can be said in golf.

     

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 WV Open 2 Westfall Evans leads the field on rainy day at W.Va. Open

    The wind picked up, the rain started to fall and the scores were low at second round of the 81st West Virginia Open. INCLUDES TOUT VIDEO.

     

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 WVU Replacing Sims a challenge for WVU

    Every year, almost every college football preview publication available lists one key statistic that most use to evaluate the prospects for any given football team — returning starters.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU rifle coach competing in native Scotland

    West Virginia University rifle coach John Hammond is competing in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in his native Scotland.

    July 24, 2014

  • 072414 WV Open.jpg Familiarity with Cobb helps Hess take lead

    It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Kenny Hess is comfortable playing the Cobb Course at Glade Springs Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Golf and motocross are Jude’s passions

    Motocross and golf have very little in common.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU’s Worley clear starter at cornerback

    There were few bright spots in West Virginia University’s 4-8 football campaign last year, and even fewer on the defensive side of the football, where the Mountaineers gave up more than 455 yards and 33 points per game.

    July 24, 2014

  • How to discover and love Major League Soccer

    When I began my soccer fandom following a missions trip to Brazil in 2000, I didn’t know what my next step was. I knew I loved watching the game, but there weren’t a lot of options for seeing it in the U.S. I knew of Major League Soccer — mostly from my friend and current FC Dallas beat writer Drew Epperley — but it was hard to find.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Saints Training Camp