Marshall football paid tribute to the 75 who died 45 years ago today in the Southern Airways flight 932 with a 52-0 dismantling of FIU at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on senior day.
It was the largest margin of defeat by a team in Conference USA since Marshall defeated Southern Miss 61-13 in 2013. The win also marked the first time Marshall shutout a FBS opponent since blanking Ohio in 2003.
Marshall forced a quick three and out by FIU to open the contest and rushed out to an early 7-0 on a Remi Watson 1-yard run, capping off a 5-play 45-yard drive.
11:14 remained in the quarter when Watson rumbled in for the score.
The Herd added to its early lead on a Chase Litton 7-yard strike to Justin Hunt and a 14-0 lead midway through the opening quarter. Litton finished with the game 16-of-23 for 169 yards and three touchdowns in only three quarters.
Both teams traded punts after the score and Marshall's Deandre Reaves provided his special touch to the contest. Reaves fielded the Chris Ayers 50-yard punt at his own 31-yard line, made a great cut shy of midfield, then streaked down the middle to the endzone for a 69-yard punt return for the touchdown and a 21-0 lead after one quarter. It was Reaves first career punt return for a touchdown.
Marshall's red-hot offense continued to open the second quarter with Litton finding Ryan Yurachek for a 3-yard touchdown and a 28-0 Herd lead.
Watson cashed in for his second score in the game, streaking past the FIU defense for a 62-yard score and a 35-0 Marshall lead. The run was Watson's longest of the season. Watson led the Herd's rushing attack with a game-high 97 yards on 11 carries.
Nick Smith sent the game to the locker room with 35-yard field goal attempt just before the break, making it 38-0.
Reaves added to his senior day performance, hauling in a 10-yard touchdown reception from Litton for his fourth receiving touchdown of the season and a 45-point lead after three quarters.
Reaves tallied five catches for 31 yards and Davonte Allen added 71 yards on five catches including a 33-yard grab on the first Marshall play from scrimmage.
Michael Birdsong capped off the scoring for Marshall, walking in untouched for a 2-yard score, extending the Herd's lead to 52-0. It was Birdsong's first rushing touchdown of the season.
Marshall totaled 463 total yards of offense on 65 plays. FIU managed only 209 yards on 63 plays.
Alex McGough finished 11-of 25 for 98 yards and an interception in the loss. Anthony Jones toted the rushing load for the Panthers on 16 carries for 73 yards.
Marshall welcomes a much needed bye week before heading to Bowling Green in two weeks for a defector CUSA East Division championship game with Western Kentucky. FIU will face WKU next weekend in Florida in its final regular season matchup.