Backup receivers replace Dobson
HUNTINGTON -- On the first play of Saturday's game Marshall wide receiver Aaron Dobson caught a 4-yard hitch pass. On the way down, the Thundering Herd senior hurt his left leg. He was helped off the field and didn't return.
Marshall had redshirt freshman Davonte Allen and junior Demetrius Evans waiting for opportunities, and they demonstrated how deep the receiving corps is in a 38-28 defeat of Memphis.
Evans got free to make seven catches for 50 yards and a 25-yard touchdown. Allen caught four passes for 87 yards with a 28-yard touchdown.
Allen's touchdown catch with 7:34 remaining iced the victory.
Allen was pushed out of bounds on the left sideline, came back in and out-jumped a Memphis defender for the ball.
"I told everyone that we had to step up," Allen said. "Coach (Doc Holliday) always talks about competitive excellence coming in and making a play when your number is called and I was just ready. I just went back and tried to see what coach was seeing on the sideline. Then I tried to go out there and execute."
Holliday saluted their efforts, saying they made some big-time catches when they had to.
Allen's touchdown was the biggest play of the game, Holliday said.
On the decisive play, Allen said he never gave up.
"He (defender) pushed me out. I came back in and kept running," he said. "I was worried first they (officials) might call it (no catch since he had gone out of bounds). I hurried to get off so we could kick the extra point. I can't describe the feeling."
Allen had some other big plays. He made a 20-yard catch in a first-quarter scoring drive. He caught a 31-yard pass in a third period scoring drive. And, he drew a pass interference call for a first down on another third quarter possession that ended with a score.
"I had to step in and play a major role," Allen said. "You try to envision something like this, but this sort of came out of nowhere."
Evans hauled in a 25-yard TD pass from quarterback Rakeem Cato on the Herd's first possession of the third period for a 24-7 lead. Evans said he hated seeing Dobson get hurt, but those things happen and you have to be ready.
"You practice hard every day. When you get your number called, you go play," Evans said. "I don't worry about individual stats. You make plays. You don't keep track of numbers."
Cato hooked up with 11 different pass-catchers. Cato just picked the open man. Names didn't matter -- Antavious Wilson, who also caught seven passes, Tommy Shuler (five), Gator Hoskins (four), Evans or Allen.
Marshall's quarterback competed 34 of his 44 throws for 341 yards and four scores.
"He trusts everybody," Evans said. "You hate to see Aaron go out. I'd rather he be in, but those things happen. You've got to be ready. This is a prime example."
Dobson's status for the next game Saturday at UAB was not known.