HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Despite cutting the Marshall lead to 21-7 early in the second quarter, the VMI football team allowed two more Thundering Herd touchdowns before the half to lift Marshall to an eventual 56-17 victory over the Keydets Saturday night at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, West Virginia.
The Keydets (0-1) trailed 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and allowed another Marshall touchdown minutes into the second quarter to find themselves in a 21-0 hole. Instead of panicking, VMI marched down the field and quarterback Reece Udinski connected with senior Javeon Lara on a 50-yard touchdown catch.
Moments later, junior defensive back Will Bunton picked off Marshall quarterback Isaiah Green and the momentum appeared to be shifting in VMI’s favor. However, the Keydets were unable to convert on the drive and Marshall refocused to score two more touchdowns to go up, 35-7, before the break.
“I was pleased with our kicking game and we were much improved on special teams tonight,” said VMI head coach Scott Wachenheim. “Offensively, we didn’t turn the ball over until late in the game until the last possession and I think Rohan Martin showed his ability as a slot receiver and Javeon Lara showed what he could do in the out and up. As always we saw a tremendous competitor there in Reece Udinski.
“We had an improved run game, but we weren’t consistent enough. We had some good production there with Korey Bridy and Alex Ramsey running hard and Tyain Smith giving us depth. Defensively, we had two takeaways with Will Bunton grabbing an interception and Eric Weaver recovering a fumble. There’s a lot of things we can build upon and I’m proud of this team.”
Marshall picked up two touchdowns in the third quarter on a 33-yard reception and a one-yard scamper by Brenden Knox to go up 49-7 with one quarter to play.
The Keydets continued to fight and marched downfield early in the fourth quarter to set up a 28-yard field goal conversion by Grant Clemons. On VMI’s ensuing possession, true freshman quarterback Seth Morgan entered the game for a play and scored a touchdown on a three-yard run around the corner with 8:48 to play.
Udinski finished the game completing 20 of 35 passes for 192 yards and zero interceptions. Under pressure all night, he was sacked four times by an overpowering Marshall defensive frontline. Redshirt junior Alex Ramsey netted 45 rushing yards on the night to lead the running back corps while Lara led all receivers with 72 receiving yards including his 50-yard TD reception. Senior receiver Rohan Martin led the group with seven catches for 61 yards.
Marshall finished the game with 620 total yards of offense including 340 through the air and 280 on the ground. Green went 18-28 for the Herd passing for 238 yards and four touchdowns. Gammage led the receivers corps with five grabs for 82 yards, while Tyler King led the way on the ground for the Herd with 75 net rushing yards on 10 carries. Sheldon Evans also proved dominant on the ground with 56 rushing yards.
The Keydets return to Lexington for their home opener next Saturday, Sept. 7, to face Mars Hill at 1:30 p.m. at Foster Stadium.