The latest chapter in the Moonshine Throwdown rivalry was definitely not short on excitement.
With seven turnovers between the two squads, it came down to the last quarter where it was a 10-10 tie to start. The Marshall Thundering Herd took a 3-point lead with a 21-yard field goal shortly after that and before both teams traded interceptions. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers then capitalized on taking over in the red zone with a touchdown by Mik’Quan Deane on a shovel pass by Steven Duncan.
The Tops had a chance to put the game away when they picked off Isaiah Green again on the next possession. Instead, they went three and out, but pinned the Herd at their own two-yard line. That didn’t slow down Green though as he engineered a 98-yard scoring drive that ended with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Tyre Brady.
With less than two minutes left, WKU had one shot to drive and win or tie the game. They made it all the way to Marshall’s ten-yard line before Ryan Bee landed a strip sack on Duncan and the Herd recovered. Green then took a knee to lock up the win for the team from Huntington.
As can be determined by the fact that there were seven total turnovers, neither team exactly played mistake free football. Isaiah Green wrapped the day 18/39 for 288 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Steven Duncan was slightly less productive going 24/39 for 263 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Marshall also lost a fumble and WKU lost two.
All in all, Marshall was able to establish a slightly more balanced attack with Green and the running backs combining for 119 rushing yards. WKU was once again plagued by a lack of execution on that front with only 61 rushing yards. WKU’s offensive line as a whole took a couple steps backward on Saturday, further evidenced by how they allowed four sacks. The Tops only allowed one against Ball State the previous week. The constant pressure on Duncan didn’t help things and he fumbled twice on the day.
Marshall receiver Tyre Brady turned in a massive day with eight catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns. He continues to climb the list of C-USA receiving leaders with 369 total receiving yards and five touchdowns. While the Herd do not look like the well oiled offensive machine that they were last season, they are 3-1 and have some positive momentum as they continue conference play against Middle Tennessee on Friday, October fifth.
WKU, while they had some notable plays on both offense and defense in this game, looked like they took something a step back in this game after getting a win against Ball State. Since the beginning of the season, Mike Sanford has been preaching the importance of finding a way to finish games. As Duncan fumbled the ball away deep in opposing territory with a chance to get the victory, it’s clear they are still working on it. They have a bye week this week to figure it out before heading to Charlotte on October 13th.