Marshall’s offense performed as expected Friday in front of the home crowd against East Carolina. Both entered the game with only one conference loss. The win gave Marshall the East Division title in Conference USA play and a chance to play the West Division leader, Rice, for the Conference Title.
Looked to be Close
Entering this game, the teams’ QBs had identical stats. High scoring games had become routine for both. Marshall’s edge came from their strong run offense. First downs, 3rd down conversions, and passing yards showed a close game on Friday. The disparity came in two areas:
- First Marshall outran the Pirates by over 120 yards.
- The Herd came out in force to attack early.
Running Game and Interceptions
East Carolina found themselves in a deficit early in the game. Halfway into the second quarter, the Pirates found themselves downhill of a 24-0 ballgame. ECU Defense picked up two turnovers in the second quarter, allowing a short 2 yard TD run by Vintavious Cooper and a follow up field goal to end the half down by 14, 24-10.
East Carolina was never able to get any closer than those 14 points. Essray Taliaferro led the Herd with 161 yards on the ground on 26 carries. Essray’s standout day at Marshall pushed him over the 1000 yard mark for the season. East Carolina has been posting big points as well, but Marshall’s defense came to play and that affected East Carolina’s QB in a big way. Shane Carden threw three interceptions in Friday’s game. He entered this matchup having only 7 INTs on the season.
Both Destined for a Bowl
East Carolina, last year’s R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl runner up, will likely play in St. Petersburg, Florida in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, taking the C-USA #4 spot there. The Thundering Herd and the Owls will play their Conference Championship on Saturday, December 7th to see who ends up in Memphis for the Liberty Bowl on New Years Eve.