Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A week after miracle win, Herd gets body-slammed

         Marshall’s heart-stopping 15-13 win over Xavier in ’71 had the whole campus riding on Cloud Nine. The afterglow of this historic upset produced seven days of euphoria for the Young Herd’s following.
        Reality was bound to set in, and it did, in a major way. A week after Xavier, Marshall’s youthful squad was in for a humbling experience. The folks at Fairfield Stadium had witnessed a miracle in MU's home opener. But the following week, they would cringe at hearing the news of how Miami of Ohio hammered Marshall by scoring nine touchdowns and a field goal in a runaway non-contest.
        The Young Thundering Herd suffered a 66-6 beat-down defeat. The loss ranked among the worst in school history. MU avoided a shut-out when linebacker Dave Smith blocked a punt and cornerback Felix Jordan picked up the loose ball and ran it back 36 yards for a touchdown.
        Entering the Miami game, most of the MU faithful had good reason to believe that their heroes would find a way to hold their own. After all, they did beat the same Xavier team that played Miami tough in a 17-7 loss earlier that season.
        Against Xavier, everything seemed to fall into place for the Herd. But on the road trip to Oxford, Ohio, it was quite the opposite. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.
        This was a game in which the statistics provided an accurate summation of how over-matched Marshall was on that day. Miami ran for 359 yards and the Herd’s ground attack finished with –minus 21 yards.
       Marshall managed a meager two yards of total offense and two first downs for the entire game. But that’s not all. The Herd’s offense didn’t get a first down until the third quarter and the only reason that happened was because of a 15-yard penalty against Miami.
       Reggie Oliver, the sophomore quarterback who orchestrated the game-winning drive against Xavier, did not play against the Redskins. Oliver was sidelined by a shoulder separation, but he did make the trip and watched the onslaught from the sidelines in street clothes.
       No doubt, this game was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

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