Marshall tops UConn, wins in St. Pete
Marshall beat UConn 16-10 to win their 5th straight bowl game. True freshman QB Chase Litton threw for 218 yards and 1 TD on 23/34 passing, and the Herd defense was able to hold off the Huskies’ strong running attack in the final quarter.
The bowl victory puts Marshall at 10 wins for the third straight year. They are the only Group of Five team who can boast that stat. It also gives the Herd the best winning percentage in bowl games in all of college football at 10-3 (.769).
Marshall opened up the scoring with a 16-yard pass from Litton to Ryan Yuracheck. The play came following a Deandre Reaves punt return to the UConn 20 yard line. Somewhat unseen on the touchdown pass, the Herd’s star running back Devon Johnson entered the game for the first time in about three months. The Huskies defense bit big time on the fake hand-off, leaving Yuracheck wide open for the TD catch.
UConn responded with a slow, but furious rushing attack. The Huskies took up 10 minutes of the first quarter and wore down the Marshall defense on a 13-play, 75 yard drive that ended with an 8 yard touchdown rush by Ron Johnson.
From there on out, it was all defense. Neither team put the ball in the end zone the rest of the game.
Nick Smith made 3 of his 4 field goals on the day, the last coming with 1:44 to play as part of a 13 play drive that lasted close to 7 minutes. Much of the Herd’s success came from slowing the game down. The defense was able to catch their breath and make big stops down the stretch.
Chuck Heater’s defense held quaterback Bryant Shirreffs to just 86 yards through the air. Shirreffs was the Huskies’ leading rusher on the day with 75 yards on the ground.
Connecticut corner Jamar Summers got his eighth interception of the season early in the fourth quarter.
Marshall moves to 10-3 on the year. The Huskies fall to 6-7.
Casey covers Marshall Football for MFST. You can find him on twitter @wxmozz