"It's great to win," said Marshall coach Bob Pruett after the game. "This has been a hard place for us to play, forever."
The game began on an ominous note for the Herd, as Wilbur Hargrove fumbled the opening kickoff and Kent appeared to recover the fumble in the end zone for a safety. However, the ball was spotted on the 1-yard line. Franklin Wallace ran for 69 yards on the very next play, and Brandon Carey finished the job just moments later on the Herd's opening TD drive that consumed just 1:27 of game clock.
MU's Curtis Jones beat KSU's V. Patrick to the end zone on Jones' 33-yard TD catch.
KSU quarterback Josh Cribbs evened up the score on a 16-yard run with 7:21 left in the first quarter, and Cribbs ran in a 29-yarder on the Flashes' next possession to take the early 14-7 lead.
Josh Cribbs would go on to account for 344 of KSU's 407 total yards of offense in the game, running for 199 and passing for another 145. The rest of the KSU squad accounted for only 63 yards against a still-improving Marshall defense.
I'm jealous," said Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich of KSU's Cribbs. "He can do some things I can't do. He can do some things with that football in his hands that are amazing."
The game was again tied at 21-21 when Cribbs answered a Josh Davis 12 yard TD with one of his own, this time breaking free on a spectacular 67-yard run with 14:07 left in the third quarter. Two consecutive Curtis Head field goals (34 and 46 yards) enabled Marshall to take the lead for good and never look back. Curtis Jones' 33 yard TD catch put the icing on the cake, and Franklin Wallace's 32 yard TD run on fourth-and-one late in the fourth quarter just made the icing even sweeter.
"Defensively at times, we did some really good things. Cribbs made us look worse than we are," summed up Pruett.
Marshall had an unusually productive day on special teams, with DE Jamus Martin blocking a Jared Fritz punt with 1:42 left in the third quarter to swing the game's momentum. Orlando Washington led the Marshall defense with 7 tackles (including 2 for loss), as well as 1.5 sacks of KSU QB Cribbs. Roberto Terrell picked off Cribbs in the first quarter, and Dionte Wilson's pick of Cribbs midway through the fourth quarter effectively sealed the win.
Marshall improves to 3-1 overall (2-0 MAC) with the win, while Kent State drops to 2-4 (0-3 MAC) with the loss. Marshall next hosts the Buffalo Bulls on Saturday October 12 at Marshall Stadium, while KSU will take the week off in preparation for hosting Ohio on October 19.