When UC lost its second quarterback of the year last week at Akron, many Herd fans assumed the Thundering Herd defense could take advantage of one of two red-shirt freshmen on the Cincinnati roster, Zach Collaros or Chazz Anderson. It turned out Anderson, in his first ever start and first ever college action, out-played Marshall's red-shirt frosh QB, Mark Cann, who had a second-straight sub-par performance against a Big East team.
Cody Slate dragged Cincinnati safety Aaron Webster along for the ride on his 57-yard touchdown catch early in the third quarter. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Cann had a 17-of-36 day, with three interceptions and three sacks, throwing for only 178 yards, and one touchdown, a 57-yard strike to Cody Slate in the third quarter that closed the 16-3 Bearcat halftime edge to 16-10. Slate had a big day against the Bearcats, with seven catches for 96 yards and the score, while Darius Passmore had seven catches also, but for just 47 yards.
After the Herd cut it to six, back came UC as Anderson would find Dominique Goodman for his second touchdown of the game from seven yards out and push the score to 23-10 with 7:13 to play and the Herd never threatened again. Goodman caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Anderson in the second quarter, to give UC a 16-0 lead in the game.
Marshall fans showed up dressed in white for the "white out" in front of a national TV audience on ESPN. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Anderson was 16-of-26 passing, with one interception. He threw 158 yards and two touchdowns, plus ran for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to ice the game for UC, 33-10. Anderson rushed eight times for minus-24 yards overall, thanks to three sacks for the Herd by Mario Harvey, who had two and forced a fumble, and Albert McClellan and Brandon Burns, who shared a sack.
However, the game was very much like last years game at Nippert Stadium, when UC dominated the Herd for a 40-14 win over Marshall. In the last eight quarters, Marshall has scored just two field goals and one touchdown, and the Herd's head man was not happy with his team's effort in a second straight game with a Big East opponent, falling 27-3 last week to WVU.
"We knew our opportunities were minimal against a very good defense. Instead of moving forward we moved backwards," said Mark Snyder. "We shot ourselves in the foot." Snyder was especially with the breakdowns in the punting game. "We tell our team that special teams can make something happen on the road, and the blocked punt, that can't happen," said Snyder. "That turned them on a little bit. I thought the rest of special teams were solid." In fact, Chubb Small returned one punt for 25 yards and one kick for 21 yards, while Darius Marshall had five returns for 92 yards. But Kase Whitehead punted six times for just 37.3 yards per kick, put three inside the 20-yard line but had two blocked and one was for a safety and a 2-0 UC lead at the end of the first quarter.
Darius Passmore put a fake on Cincinnati's Mike Mickens on this reception. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Snyder was not unhappy with his defense, until late in the game when the Bearcats just ran at will up and down the field. "Defense was in a lot of bad positions, with the free kick, the turnovers. I was a little dissapointed in fourth quarter when they pounded us, because you can never give up."
The good news is the Herd has a week off to heal up and get ready to finish the year in Conference play only, starting with a trip on October 18 to historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama to open with the 1-5, 0-2 in C-USA Blazers. "We take a couples of week to get ready and go to UAB, try and get a win and go to 3-0. All of our goals are still in front of us." Marshall is 2-0 in league play, with wins over Memphis and Southern Miss, both East Division rivals.
Brandon Burns had his eyes wide open after intercepting Cincinnati QB Chazz Anderson. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
At halftime, the Herd trailed in every category: 16-3 on the scoreboard, 122 to 119 in total offense, two turnovers to one, one blocked punt for a safety to none. Cann looked more like the red-shirt freshman in his first start than Anderson. Cann hit 9-of-19 for 78 yards and two interceptions, while Anderson had 10-of-17 and one interception, by Brandon Burns on a pass tipped by Delvin Johnson.
Marshall would only score three in the first half, with 2:05 to play, on a Craig Rantanamorn 50-yard field goal. That tied the last longest kick by Anthony Binswanger, who hit a 50-yard field goal against UCF back on October 4, 2006, in a 23-22 loss to the Knights.
The Herd was out-gained by the Bearcats by nearly 100 yards, 361 to 268, and Marshall once again was held under 100 yards rushing. Small led the Herd with 62 yards on seven carries, but Marshall took 25 yards in losses and settled for just 90 net yards rushing. Marshall turned the ball over three times, to just two for the Bearcats. UC also won the punting battle, with Kevin Huber punting six times for a 43.5 yard average to eight MU punts for a 30.8 yard per punt average.