DENTON, Texas — For one series, it appeared Marshall’s problems with starting fast were still looming.
It didn’t take long for the Thundering Herd to change that tune Friday night, however.
After a three-and-out to open the game, Marshall scored touchdowns on its next six possessions to earn a convincing 49-21 road win over North Texas to give the Herd two straight wins as the team heads into its off week.
“Happy for these guys, proud of these coaches,” Huff said. “A step in the right direction tonight.”
As Huff looked up at the scoreboard after one quarter, he saw something that he’d been waiting on in Conference USA play — his team with a lead.
Marshall took a 14-0 advantage after one quarter and was driving to make it a three-score game, dominating in all facets.
Just how lopsided was it early on? After one quarter, Marshall had more first downs (11) than North Texas had yards (8). Total yardage was 161-8 in favor of the Herd.
Huff’s desire to see drives end in touchdowns instead of field goals showed itself in the second quarter.
The Herd’s first-year coach wanted no hiccups in momentum so he made a call to keep the Herd’s confidence thriving.
With Marshall already leading 21-0, Huff could’ve called for a field goal with the Herd facing fourth-and-2 from the North Texas 6.
Instead, he kept the offense on the field and handed the ball off. Rasheen Ali powered over the pile for three yards, which set up a Grant Wells rushing score two plays later.
It was part of a 28-point second quarter for the Herd in which the team had 187 yards of offense in 20 plays with no incompletions, turnovers or penalties.
“The issues that we’ve had in the season thus far have all been discipline issues,” Huff said. “That’s not just hitting someone after the whistle. That’s blocking the right guy, being in the right gap, wrapping up on tackles, not false starting, making sure we’re on the line and not having procedural penalties. All that is discipline.”
Wells was the catalyst in the surge, completing his final 15 passes of the first half, including all 10 in the second quarter.
Of Wells’ 323 passing yards, 280 came before halftime, as did four of his five touchdowns on the evening.
It was part of a carry-over from the end of the win over Old Dominion in which Wells put together his best recent stretch making plays for the Herd.
“Grant took a step tonight,” Huff said. “When he’s comfortable, we have a chance to be really good. That goes to the O-line for protecting him, that goes for the running backs keeping us in second and third-and-manageable situations where he doesn’t feel like, ‘Hey, I’ve got to make this third-and-15 throw’ and it goes back to him trusting his reads and distributing the ball.”
For a team starving for a fast start, it was a satisfying night in which everyone got to eat.