2019 0901 mu football

Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Marshall running back Tyler King (3) breaks upfield on a carry against VMI's Kaleb Tucker (1) in an NCAA football game on Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON - Marshall's 2019 season got off to a successful start on Saturday night as the Herd used a balanced offensive attack to top VMI, 56-17, in front of 23,875 fans at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

The win was the 15th consecutive win for Marshall over VMI, who is a member of the Southern Conference.

Marshall's offense rolled up 620 yards of total offense while showing balance and getting multiple players involved. It was the first time Marshall eclipsed 600 yards of offense since gaining 630 against Charlotte on Oct. 15, 2015.

Quarterback Isaiah Green threw a career-high four touchdown passes and Alex Thomson also led a 99-yard scoring drive for the Herd as part of the offensive highlights. Brenden Knox also had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs to aid the Herd cause while the Herd rushed for 280 yards.

Marshall put the game away following a 1-yard touchdown run by Knox on the final play of the first half that gave the Herd a 35-7 lead at the break.

While the Herd was happy with the advantage, there was cause for concern after a pair of first-half injuries.

Prior to Knox's scoring run, quarterback Isaiah Green left the field after taking a hit in which his head hit the turf following a helmet-to-helmet hit that resulted in a targeting call and ejection on VMI safety Josh Sarratt. However, Green returned to play after being cleared at halftime.

Before the injury, Green led Marshall's offense to a strong first-half performance with touchdown tosses of 29 yards to Willie Johnson, 51 yards to Artie Henry and four yards to Xavier Gaines. He also connected with eight different receivers in the first half with five having multiple catches.

Green was cleared at halftime and came back to start the second half, running one drive that he capped with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Corey Gammage, which gave Green a career high for touchdown passes in a game. Green finished 18 of 28 for 238 yards and the four scores with one interception. Gammage had five catches for 82 yards in his first game.

While Green was able to return to action, Marshall was not as lucky with one of its linebackers as Jaquan Yulee was taken off on a stretcher near the end of the first quarter following a hit on VMI tight end Jakob Harris, who also stayed down for a while on the play.

As medical personnel tended to Yulee, Marshall's team huddled around him to pray, along with VMI's Tyain Smith and Charles Dixon, who are from the same high school as Yulee and Marshall's Tavante Beckett - Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia.

In less than one quarter, Yulee had six tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss and a half-sack.

Marshall jumped out to a 14-0 lead after scoring a pair of touchdowns in less than 90 seconds. After Green connected with Johnson on the 29-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring, Talik Keaton fielded a punt and raced 67 yards for a score, marking the Herd's first punt return for a touchdown since Deandre Reaves against FIU in 2015.

VMI got its lone first-half score when Reece Udinski found Javeon Lara for a 50-yard touchdown after a busted coverage by the Herd secondary. Udinski finished 20 of 35 for 192 yards. True freshman quarterback Seth Morgan added a 4-yard rushing score in the fourth quarter.

Marshall now sets its sights on a short week as the team travels to Boise State for a nationally-televised contest on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. on Friday.

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