HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Taking care of business.
The Marshall football team moved up to 16th in the Associated Press college football poll following a resounding 51-10 victory over visiting Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon during a non-conference matchup at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
The host Thundering Herd (6-0) never trailed and broke a 7-all tie with a 44-3 surge over the final 47:02 of regulation, all while playing a turnover-free game that resulted in a plus-1 difference by day’s end.
MU churned out a balanced attack of 267 rushing yards and 228 passing yards for a sizable 495-190 advantage in total yards of offense. The Green and White also claimed a 33-12 edge in first downs and also went 6-of-7 in red zone scoring opportunities.
The Herd built a 7-0 lead just 92 seconds into regulation as Brenden Knox rumbled 45 yards to paydirt, capping a 4-play, 75-yard drive with 13:28 left in the first stanza.
The Minutemen (0-2) countered with a 6-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a 7-all tie after Samuel Emilus hauled in a 2-yard pass from Will Koch with 7:01 remaining.
Knox, however, added his second and final rushing score on a 14-yard scamper at the 2:02 mark of the first, allowing Marshall to take a permanent lead of 14-7.
Corey Gammage hauled in a 19-yard pass from Grant Wells with 9:52 left in the first half, giving the Herd a 21-7 cushion.
Shane Ciucci added a 43-yard field goal with 6:04 remaining for a 24-7 lead, but Jeremy Martin responded with a 46-yard field goal with 2:38 left in the half for a 24-10 contest.
Sheldon Evans tacked on an 11-yard run with 38 seconds remaining before halftime, pushing the hosts out to a 31-10 advantage entering the break.
Xavier Gaines hauled in touchdown passes of 13 and 16 yards from Wells in the third canto while extending the lead out to 44-10 entering the finale.
Knowledge McDaniel tacked on a 14-yard touchdown run with 13:04 left in regulation to complete the 41-point triumph.
UMass produced 149 passing yards and added 41 rushing yards on 29 attempts, a mere 1.4-yard average per attempt. The guests were penalized five times for 68 yards, while MU was flagged four times for 43 yards.
Knox led Marshall with 118 rushing yards on 14 carries, followed by McDaniel with 43 yards on five attempts.
Wells completed 21-of-30 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns, while Gaines led the wideouts with seven catches for 66 yards and two scores. Seven different receivers also caught at least one pass.
Tavante Beckett led the MU defense with 11 tackles. Sam Burton paced the hosts with 1.5 sacks, while Darius Hodge recovered a fumble that resulted in points following the second Gaines TD grab.
Ellis Merriweather led the Massachusetts rushing attack with 31 yards on 10 carries. Koch went 12-of-18 passing for 99 yards and a score, with Samuel leading the wideouts with six grabs for 29 yards and a score.
Mike Ruane led the Minutemen with nine tackles and also recorded one of the two sacks for UMass.
Marshall returns to action Saturday when it hosts Middle Tennessee State in a Conference USA contest at noon.
© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.