By Hunter Bailey. November 12, 2018. HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Brenden Knox led the way for the Thundering Herd with 116 yards and a touchdown as Marshall pulled away from Charlotte in the second half, ultimately winning 30-13 in front of 19,418 football fans.
With the win Marshall moves to 6-3, becoming bowl eligible for the second consecutive year. Charlotte ended Marshall’s 11-game streak without allowing a first-quarter touchdown as Evan Shirreffs capped off the opening drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
Following a 23-yard Marshall field goal, Charlotte regained possession with five minutes remaining in the first quarter, leading 7-3. A quick three-and-out forced the Niners to punt from their own 29-yard line. Special teams have a knack of creating special plays – Darius Hodge blocked the 49er punt, and the Herd recovered at Charlotte’s 1-yard line.
Senior RB Anthony Anderson wasted no time, pushing past the goal line to give the Herd a 10-7 lead with under three minutes remaining in the first quarter. Anderson notched his eighth touchdown run this season, leading the way for Marshall’s rushing attack.
The Herd added a field goal from 33-yards out, and Charlotte matched with a 40-yard boot from freshman Jonathan Cruz with no time remaining in the first half.
Charlotte’s defense forced their only turnover of the day on the first play of the second half, as senior DB Ed Rolle stripped Anderson before he could turn the corner. Timmy Horne fell on the loose ball, recovering the first fumble of his collegiate career. The 6-5 defensive tackle played his best game statistically as a 49er, bringing home 4 tackles as well as the fumble recovery. Charlotte’s offense managed a field goal from 35-yards out, tying the game at 13-all.
Marshall began to fire on all cylinders in the third quarter, scoring 17 points in a three-possession span. The Thundering Herd held the Charlotte offense to just an eye-popping ONE drive longer than three plays for the remainder of the game. Marshall’s ferocious front-seven held Charlotte’s passing game in check, sacking Shirreffs six times on the day. Shirreffs’ completed 8 of 18 aerials for just 74 yards.
8 completed passes calls for a heavy dosage of the run game, and with 41 attempts on the ground gaining 113 total yards, the Niner offense was all but nonexistent. Benny LeMay led the way for the Niners with 13 carries for 70 yards.
Knox’s 4-yard run broke the 13-all tie with under ten minutes remaining in the third, and the Thundering Herd didn’t look back. On the ensuing Marshall possession, the offense stalled in the red zone, leading to a 23-yard field goal by Justin Rohrwasser. Following another Charlotte three-and-out, Isaiah Green found junior Obi Obialoon a 10-yard strike to cap off a 5-play, 50-yard touchdown drive. Marshall took a commanding 30-13 lead and held Charlotte scoreless in the final 28 minutes of play.
Green finished the day completing 15-25 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown, and Marshall outgained Charlotte 325-185 yards in total offense. Charlotte allowed a 100-yard rusher (Brenden Knox, 117) for the first time all season.
Marshall looks to pick up their seventh win of the season matching up with the UTSA Roadrunners (3-7), in a game where the Thundering Herd are favored by 24 points.
Charlotte returns to the Queen City for senior day welcoming Florida International (7-3). The 49er defense will be tested as the Golden Panther offense is averaging over 400 yards per game. Charlotte must win their remaining two games (FIU, FAU) to achieve bowl eligibility.