Keion Davis returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and Chris Jackson added a 72-yard interception return for a score, but Marshall still needed to bat down a game-ending Hail Mary pass to defeat Miami 31-26 on Saturday night.
Davis sprinted straight up the middle, untouched, for 99 yards and a score the first time Marshall touched the ball. He later dashed up the right sideline for a 97-yard TD. The Thundering Herd special teams created a huge lane each time.
“Cost us the game,” Miami coach Chuck Martin told the team website. “We don’t throw a pick 6 and don’t give up two kickoff returns we probably win the game by a couple scores. … Very, very frustrating, but we’ll be more frustrated tomorrow when we watch the tape and try to figure out how we lost this game.”
Miami’s Gus Ragland completed 23 of 44 passes for 298 yards and two TDs, but a 42-yard heave into the end zone as time expired was tipped away. Ryan Smith, 7 catches 98 yards, handled both touchdown passes, the last pulling the RedHawks to 31-26 with 8:01 to play when he bounced off two defenders at the 5 before scoring.
Miami outgained Marshall 429-267. The RedHawks had 25 first downs; the Thundering Herd had 15. Linebacker Brad Koenig led the RedHawks’ defense with 13 tackles and one forced fumble.
“Both teams are good enough that if you don’t do it right, the other will make you pay,” Martin said. “We won more battles on offense and defense. That’s the frustrating thing.”
Chase Litton, 20-30-208 yards, opened the final quarter with a 49-yarder to Willie Johnson on third-and-10, leading to a 27-yard Kaare Vedvik field goal and a 31-20 lead.
Miami hosts Austin Peay at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in its home opener at Yager Stadium.
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