The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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April 25, 2010

Green tops White 17-14 in Marshall's annual spring game

HUNTINGTON — Doc Holliday was non-committal about which of his players impressed him more in Saturday’s Green-White Game.

As for past players, well, Holliday could have talked about them all day.

The Thundering Herd completed its first spring under its new coach, but Holliday seemed almost in awe of an event held the night before. Former Herd greats Byron Leftwich, Randy Moss, Chad Pennington and John Wade were inducted into the Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame during a special Sons of Marshall ceremony.

Their message left an impression on Holliday.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years, coached a long time, and in all my (years of) coaching, I have never been to a thing like that,” he said. “It was the most impressive thing I have ever been involved in.

“What Byron and Randy and Chad and John Wade had to say last night was unbelievable. I just want to thank Chad and the athletic department for putting that thing on, because that was a showcase for Marshall football. To have 1,200 people there (the event sold out) and probably could have sold 2,000 tickets, that just tells you the love this university has for its football program.”

Prior to Saturday’s spring game, Pennington and Leftwich sat in on the quarterbacks meeting to share their knowledge with the likes of Brian Anderson and A.J. Graham. Anderson and Graham alternated with the first and second-team offenses.

Press Taylor played the final series, which was cut one quarter short because of rain.

“It was pretty neat,” said Anderson, a rising senior and the incumbent starter. “You almost wanted to turn around and (say), ‘Can I have your autograph?’

“They’re both great guys. They came in there and were just trying to teach us the things they have learned over the many years they have played.”

“First and foremost, those are class-act guys,” Graham said. “They came into the meeting room and helped us out with film from a previous practice we had. It was great for them to come into practice and help us.”

Threats of severe thunderstorms altered the day’s plans, but didn’t keep 11,819 fans from showing up.

Country music band Gloriana was scheduled to perform after the game. Instead, they went on prior to kickoff, and the game started nearly an hour after the scheduled start time.

A flag football game for kids from the Boys and Girls Club and the four hall inductees, scheduled for halftime, was canceled. Instead, Gloriana took the covered stage for one more set.

As for the spring game, both offenses scored on their opening possessions, and it was the Green team taking a 17-14 win.

Anderson guided a scoring drive with the ones, capping a seven-play, 70-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to rising sophomore Aaron Dobson. All seven plays on the drive were pass plays.

Graham then led the second-teamers (White) on a nine-play march. Graham scored on a 5-yard keeper to tie it at 7-7.

The defenses stiffened from there, but a 2-yard TD run by Martin Ward put the Green ahead 14-7 halfway through the second quarter. The White answered when Graham tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Antavious Wilson.

Tyler Warner’s 30-yard field goal with 3:25 to play in the third proved the game-winner. Rain put an end to the game after three quarters.

Anderson was a combined 16 of 26 for 159 yards and was “sacked” once. Graham completed 14 of 20 attempts for 166 yards. He also rushed 10 times for 22 yards and was sacked three times.

Graham was the only quarterback who was live.

Andre Booker was the leading rusher with 44 yards on 10 carries. Dobson was the top receiver with 76 yards on four catches.

Defensively, Derek Mitchell and George Carpenter led the way with six tackles.

The 2010 season will begin Thursday, Sept. 2, at Ohio State. The first home game of the Holliday era will be Friday, Sept. 10, against West Virginia.

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