The Herd started former Georgia Tech player Jonathan Garner at quarterback, who sat out last year as a transfer to Marshall. Garner was in the mix to back up Mark Cann this year, before falling behind Brian Anderson when he hurt his hand by hitting it on a helmet back in August and missing many reps in camp.
Hargrave, now 6-0 after beating both the MU and East Carolina sub-Varsity teams this week (22-19 over ECU), had been cruising behind the play of quarterback Kevin Newsome (Chesapeake, Va.), until he broke his last two fingers on his left hand Thursday in Greenville, N.C. The Tigers turned to former high school quarterback Blue, who was playing running back at Hargrave, and he stepped up big.
The North Carolina recruit hit on 7-of-11 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns, including a 49-yard strike to Ansel Ponder, who is a native of the Mountain State from Bluefield. Blue also ran for 77 yards on 11 carries. "Today was my first time," said Blue of playing quarterback at the post-graduate level. "I felt good. I felt it was an opportunity to show Carolina and other schools what I can do beside playing running back. I like Marshall's facilities, but I'm going to stay with Carolina."
Newsome was traveling with Hargrave, and he was impressed with everything he saw on the visit. "Up to this point I've been learning a lot," said Newsome. "I'm rehabbing right now, getting ready for the tough games down the stretch. "Marshall is great," said Newsome about his visit. "I went to McDonald's, and everyone came up to say, 'Hey, how are you doing? Glad to have you here.' It's a real nice, homey place. All the people here are great, and so are the coaches. Even the baseball coach came up and greeted me. I am thankful to be wanted by a great program like Marshall.
"What can you say, the school has a movie! We know there is a lot of pride here, and there are DBs who like this school a lot, a lot of receivers like Marshall a lot. From the public eye, Marshall has a great chance of winning the conference this year. You look into the future, into the NFL, and you see (Marshall) guys like Byron Leftwich and Randy Moss. It would be a great school to attend."
Newsome wouldn't go into specifics about who else was talking to him. "I don't want to be boastful, so I won't name teams," said Newsome. Asked which conferences that were recruiting him, however, Newsome said quickly, "All of them."
Kevin Newsome, who was not able to play at Marshall, due to a broken finger on his left (non-throwing) hand, had high praise for Marshall, Huntington and the Thundering Herd. The quarterback is being recruited by MU, among many other schools. photo from Scout.com
MU coach Phil Ratliff was head coach of the sub-Varsity Herd on Sunday, and set up the game with Hargrave. "It gives our players, who are trying to make the special teams or travel squad, an opportunity to be evaluated in a true-game competition," said Ratliff. That's what happened last year, when junior tackle James Burkes played well in the Hargrave game, made his first trip ever the next week to Cincinnati and hasn't come out of the lineup since. "It gives some a chance to work on their game, like I did as a sophomore on the 1990 Herd when I missed some games with a broken finger, and gives others a chance to play in a Marshall game, wear the uniform and get to play in a Marshall game, for all the hard work they do on scout teams.
"It gives us, the coaching staff at Marshall, an opportunity to get these great athletes from Hargrave on our campus, evaluate them, see how they react to game situation. To see their eyes light up this year, when we showed them the new locker room, meeting rooms and weight rooms. We have had really good players from that program for our program." Ratliff mentioned current starters like Marshall tight end Cody Slate, running back Chubb Small and linebacker Mario Harvey, players on this year's Herd who came to MU from Hargrave, as did former players like Marcus Hairston, Jamus Martin, Wilbur Hargrove and Dennis Thornton in this decade.
Also scoring touchdowns for Hargrave were Devin Figaro (on a 35 yard reception), a wide out from Lafayette, La., and Tyshon Goode (on a 13 yard reception), an athlete from Syracuse, N.Y. Onterio McCalebb (Fort Meade, Florida) ran for 50 yards on 13 carries at running back.
Jo Jo Cox rushed for 22 yards on four carries in the sub-Varsity game at Marshall with Hargrave. The Tigers beat the Herd, 20-0. photo by Greg Perry, HI
Some Herd fans were surprised to see red-shirt freshman Terrell Edwards playing Sunday, but he rushed for six yards, had a couple of nice kickoff returns and three catches for 35 yards. Edwards had missed three games with a leg injury, but also rushed for 14 yards on three carries late on Friday night against Cincinnati. Freshman Tyson Gale, a linebacker who played tight end in high school, showed surprising hands when he caught two passes for 29 yards over the middle. Tavaris Thompson caught three passes for 24 yards, but struggled with dropped passes in the game.
Defensively, MU corner Tyler Torlone, who played at nearby Cabell Midland H.S., was tied with linebacker Howard King and defensive tackle Eric Vint with five tackles each. King had a tackle for loss, as did sophomore end DeMetrius Thompson (Capital H.S., Charleston, W.Va.), both for sacks of Blue. Joe Bragg, a senior defensive lineman from Morgantown, W.Va., had four tackles at end.
Jonathan Meeks, who has been offered by UNC, had six tackles (five solos) in the 20-0 win by Hargrave over the Marshall sub-Varsity on Sunday, Oct. 5. The Tigers are 6-0 on the season.
photo from Scout.com
Hargrave's leading tackler from defensive back Jonathan Meeks, from Rock Hill, S.C., who had six total and five solos. Linebacker Kevin Reddick (New Bern, N.C.) had three tackles and a tackle for loss, and defensive back Dezmon Gray also had three tackles with a pass broken up. DB Vernon Joines (Bel Air, Md.) pulled down the only interception of the game for Hargrave, and fellow defensive back Ricky Finklea (Clemmons, N.C.) has one tackle, a sack, and broke up a pass.