Marshall comes into Bowling Green, spoils WKU's Homecoming with 38-14 win
Marshall needed just two plays and 38 seconds to score on its opening drive against Western Kentucky on Saturday night at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
The visiting Thundering Herd dominated from then on out.
Racking up 344 total yards of offense, 263 of those coming in a first half that saw it build a commanding 28-0 lead, Marshall dominated in all facets and rolled to a 38-14 win to spoil the Hilltoppers’ Homecoming.
WKU (1-3 overall, 1-1 Conference USA) will try to bounce back next Saturday on the road at UAB. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (CT) in Birmingham, with the game being broadcast on the Stadium network.
Marshall’s first play of the night was a 30-yard pass from quarterback Grant Wells to wide receiver Broc Thompson, and the Herd quickly followed that up with running back Brenden Knox’s 45-yard touchdown run to take the early 7-0 lead.
The Herd’s third drive covered 60 yards with nine plays in 4:30 and was capped by running back Sheldon Evans’ five-yard TD run, which doubled the advantage to 14-0 after the first quarter.
After WKU punted for the third and fourth times, Marshall put together another successful series — using Wells’ 40-yard pass to Thompson to set-up a one-yard TD run for Knox. The scoring play finished off a four-play, 45-yard drive that lasted 1:49 and increased the Hilltoppers’ deficit to 21-0 with 2:14 remaining in the second quarter.
Following WKU’s second fumble of the game, Marshall took advantage of the miscue and quickly assembled a seven-play, 37-yard drive — capping it with a nine-yard score by Knox that was made possible by a 23-yard connection between the dominant duo of Wells and Thompson.
Marshall continued to execute — and WKU still couldn’t figure things out — in the second half.
After the Toppers fumbled for the third time, this one coming on a bad toss from quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome to running back Jakari Moses, the Herd recovered and scored on a 38-yard fumble recovery TD to put WKU in a 35-0 hole at the 9:20 mark of the third quarter.
The Herd added to their already-comfortable lead with a 28-yard field goal by Shane Ciucci to go up 38-0 with 2:22 left in the quarter.
Tyson Helton decided to pull Pigrome and put in backup quarterback Kevaris Thomas, who manufactured a five-play, 75-yard drive in 2:22 and scored on a two-yard TD run for WKU’s first points of the game.
Thomas’ score came after he connected with wideout Xavier Lane for a 51-yard gain that put the Tops in the red zone for the first time and helped them cut their deficit to 38-7 entering the fourth.
Thomas scored for a second time — this time on a 26-yard TD pass to receiver Dalvin Smith — to bring WKU within 38-14, but there was just six seconds left and not enough time for the Hilltoppers to make a comeback.