By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
As Marshall goes from dominating a restored rivalry to hosting a member of the Football Championship Subdivision, avoiding a Kansas State-type letdown will be big this week.
As well as the FCS performed last weekend over their bigger NCAA brethren — including North Dakota State’s shocker at Kansas State — and with Gardner-Webb riding high after its win over Furman, the Runnin’ Bulldogs will present a dangerous test for the Thundering Herd when they visit Saturday. Kickoff at Joan C. Edwards Stadium will be 6:30 p.m.
The key will be to not be overconfident, which would be understandable after last Saturday’s 52-14 win over Miami (Ohio).
“It’s just a good feeling getting the win and starting the season 1-0,” senior tight end Gator Hoskins said after his two-touchdown night against the RedHawks. “We’re going to celebrate the win tonight, then forget about it, go back to work and get ready for the next opponent coming in. We’re taking them one game at a time.”
Gardner-Webb (1-0) comes in after a 28-21 comeback win over the Paladins. Redshirt junior quarterback Lucas Beatty threw a 5-yard touchdown to Kenny Cook to give the Bulldogs the lead, and Beatty’s 2-point conversion pass to Seth Cranfill made it a seven-point game with 9:49 to play.
An interception by sophomore linebacker Chad Geter on Furman’s next drive helped Gardner-Webb preserve the win, its first-ever over the Paladins and first over a Southern Conference team since it beat Western Carolina in 2009.
“I’m proud of them; it was great to see all the work they put in pay off,” Bulldogs coach Carroll McCray told the Shelby (N.C.) Star. “We want to put pride in the red and black colors of the school. We respect Furman and we want to do what we have to to earn the respect of other people.”
Beatty, who led the Big South in passing yards per game last season, completed 22 of 31 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns against Furman. Both of his touchdowns went to 2012 second-team all-conference receiver Cook, who had nine catches for 113 yards.
Running back Juanne Blount had 28 carries for 162 yards and a pair of scores.
McCray, a Gardner-Webb alumnus, took over the program in January, days after the abrupt resignation of coach Ron Dickerson Jr. after two years.
— E-mail: gfauber@