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Marshall Survives in Kent and Wins in Double Overtime

Marshall erased a 19-7 deficit in the third quarter to Kent State and secured its third win of the season with a 36-29 double overtime win.

Marshall's Tony Pittman (23) rumbles in for his first touchdown of the season.
Marshall's Tony Pittman (23) rumbles in for his first touchdown of the season.
Falecia Collier/Collier Photography

Marshall football entered Saturday afternoon's game with Kent State at Dix Stadium, riding a 10-game winning streak over the Golden Flashes dating back to 1978.

The Herd made it 11 after surviving in double overtime to defeat the Golden Flashes 36-29.

Chase Litton made his second start for the Herd, finishing 14-of-36 for 151 yards, tossing two touchdowns and two interceptions and Tony Pittman racked up 129 yards on 24 carries, including the eventual game winner in the second overtime period.

Marshall (3-1) forced Kent State (1-3) to punt on its first offensive possession only to hand the ball back to the Golden Flashes after Litton's first pass was intercepted by Jordan Italiano.setting From their own 48, the Golden Flashes capitalized on the Litton miscue after Antwan Dixon took a reverse 47 yards for the score. Kent State tried for two but failed and led 6-0.

Marshall responded to the deficit with Litton hitting Ryan Yurachek on a 22-yard toss to set up the Herd inside the redzone. Marshall grabbed a 7-6 lead on a Pittman 9-yard scamper as the sophomore notched his first score of the season.

Kent State finally broke the offensive stalemate with 8:40 left in the half after Trayion Durham scored on a three-yard run for a 13-7 lead at the break. Durham finished the game with 114 yards on 31 carries.

As Marshall's offensive woes continued, Kent State's misdirection on offense set up the Golden Flashes third score. Colin Reardon found Ernest Calhoun for a 19-yard touchdown strike at the 9:11 mark of the third and a 19-7 lead.

Deandre Reaves gave the Herd a much-needed lift on the ensuing kickoff, taking the kick 93 yards for the score to trim the lead to 19-14. It was Reaves second career touchdown return, the first coming last season in the Boca Raton Bowl win over Northern Illinois.

Evan McKelvey continued the Herd's momentum shift after recovering Kent State's 10th fumble of the season, but failed to convert the turnover into points as the Golden Flashes held a five-point lead after three quarters.

Kent State suffered a major setback on the Herd's first drive of the final quarter after Nate Holley was ejected on a targeting call after making contact with Litton after the quarterback slid to avoid a tackle.

Marshall regained the lead on its first possession in the fourth quarter on a Litton to Yurachek 17-yard touchdown pass, then made it a three-point lead after Pittman converted the two-point try for a 22-19 lead. Adding insult to injury, Najee Murray became the second Kent State player to be ejected in the drive after he was called for targeting Yurachek in the end zone.

Kent State drove deep into Marshall territory only to have the drive stall, forcing the Golden Flashes to settle for a Shane Hynes 33-yard field goal to even the game at 22 with 4:55 remaining.

Marshall failed to convert on the following drive after Litton forced an ill-advised pass that landed in the hands of Marcus Elliott, setting up the Golden Flashes near midfield with 3:34 left in regulation.

Facing fourth-and-four, Kent State's attempt was snuffed by the Herd's defense, giving the ball back to Marshall with just over two minutes left in the game.

Marshall could not convert on the drive and the game headed to overtime.

Kent State cashed in for the a 29-22 lead in the first overtime period after Reardon found Brice Fackler for a 12-yard touchdown. It was Fackler's first reception of the season.

The Golden Flashes appeared to be poised to steal away the win only to have Litton find Davonte Allen on fourth and goal from the three, tying the game at 29 and forcing double overtime.

Marshall began the second overtime period with a triple shot of Pittman, with the final play springing him into the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown.

Trailing 36-29, Kent State faced fourth down and long but failed to convert after Reardon's pass missed its mark, sealing the win for the Herd.

The overtime win was Marshall first since defeating Rice 54-51 in 2012. Kent State fell to 1-7 in overtime games with its only win coming over Central Michigan in 2000.

Tyler Williams finished with a career-high 12 punts totaling 562 yards, breaking the Marshall record for punt yards of 513 in a game held by Bob Eshbaugh in the 1972 game against Western Michigan.

Marshall converted only four of 18 third down attempts in the contest while Kent State finished 5-of-20.

McKelvey led the Herd with 18 tackles, two for a loss. Holley collected 15 tackles in the loss with Terence Waugh collecting three of the Golden Flashes five sacks.

Marshall returns home Saturday afternoon as it opens Conference USA play with Old Dominion at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.