The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sports

August 31, 2008

Herd displays running back depth in win over Redbirds

HUNTINGTON — Darius Marshall got the bulk of the carries Saturday, but the Marshall Thundering Herd’s running back depth was displayed against Illinois State.

Marshall, Chubb Small and Terrell Edwards all scored touchdowns in the Herd’s 35-10 win in its season opener. Marshall, a 5-foot-10, 193-pound sophomore, carried 20 times for 115 yards — his first career 100-yard game — as the starting back.

But it was Small’s 16-yard touchdown run that put Marshall ahead 7-0 in the first quarter. Edwards finally made his debut on the Herd’s last offensive series and scored on a 49-yard run on his second collegiate carry.

Marshall, a Conference USA all-freshman choice last season, was happy for Edwards, a redshirt freshman.

“It was a great thing for a young guy like Terrell to get in the game,” Marshall said. “He was focused. Even though the game was almost over he scored a touchdown. It’s just his attitude. He was hungry to get that touchdown. He wanted to score like everyone else.

“I think it was a great thing for him to go down and score and (for coaches) to know that if me and Chubb go down, he will be ready.”

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As stagnant as the first half had been, it would have surprised no one had the Herd taken a knee when its last offensive drive of the first half began with 35 seconds on the clock.

But this is a new Herd offense with a new coordinator.

First-year coach John Shannon let redshirt freshman Mark Cann show off his arm when he went deep to senior receiver Darius Passmore on the first — and only — play of the drive. Passmore caught the perfectly placed ball and raced to the end zone for an 88-yard touchdown.

That gave Marshall a 14-7 lead at halftime and wound up being the biggest of what Redbirds coach Denver Johnson referred to as a “GAP” — game-altering plays.

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