2019 0901 mu football

Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Marshall wide receiver Willie Johnson (1) celebrates with teammate Corey Gammage (14) after catching a touchdown against VMI in a NCAA football game on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, W.Va.

HUNTINGTON — With Marshall's top returning wide receiver Obi Obialo out of Saturday's game with VMI, Thundering Herd head coach Doc Holliday had to turn younger receivers to step up in Marshall's offense.

Among the 11 different receivers who emerged in Marshall's 56-17 win at Joan C. Edwards Stadium was Corey Gammage, a 6-4, 203-pound redshirt freshman from Delray Beach, Florida who led all of Marshall's receivers with five receptions for 82 yards including a 33-yard touchdown pass from Isaiah Green.

Playing in his first college football game, Gammage did his damage off the bench during the second and third quarters as Marshall was putting the Keydets away.

"Gammage stepped up and made some tough catches and that's good to see," Holliday said. "We were trying to get Corey touches. We wanted to see how he would react there. He's a good player for us."

Gammage hauled in three catches during Marshall's opening drive of the second half. Facing a third-and-nine, Marshall quarterback Isaiah Green found Gammage for a 13 yard pass that kept the Herd drive alive with a first down in VMI territory.

"I had butterflies on my first drive but once I caught that first pass, everything just went normal," Gammage said.

It was Gammage's second reception of the drive but two plays later, Green connected with the young wide receiver on a 33-yard-pass to the north end zone that put Marshall up 42-7. The drive may have appeared as just one of many on the day for the Thundering Herd en route to an easy win; however, Holliday suggested that Marshall's other young pass catchers will see more playing time, especially Gammage.

Gammage dropped one pass from Green but the sophomore said his teammates rallied around him, told him to "stay in the game and get ready for the next play," he said.

Holliday said he couldn't comment on the injury to Obialo, only to say that he would be back. In the absence of the receiver, who was second in 2018 for Marshall with 42 catches for 505 yards and four touchdowns, Marshall got a chance in the lopsided win to work in more receivers and even get looks from backup quarterback Alex Thomson too.

More depth at the skill positions gives Marshall options with a tough stretch of the schedule ahead, including this Friday at 9 p.m. at Boise State playing in a higher altitude.

Gammage said he has chemistry with all of Marshall's quarterbacks, and with his first game now under his belt, more passes will come his way.

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