Herald-Advertiser, Sept. 19, 1971
MOREHEAD -- One game doesn't make a season, but this one Saturday night between Marshall University and Morehead State was a big one.
The Young Thundering Herd of Coach Jack Lengyel played its first game -- and lost -- since the airplane crash last Nov. 14, near Huntington which took the lives of 25 Marshall players and head coach Rick Tolley.
"It's a start," said Lengyel, who came down to Huntington from the College of Wooster to reconstruct the MU football program. "It's a start ... we'll grow each week," he said.
Morehead, a veteran team and the favorite to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship, defeated the Young Herd 29-6. "We worked hard for this game, too," said a pleased Jake Hallum, the Morehead coach.
Lengyel wanted to make one thing clear: "Morehead is not our season," he said. "Ten games is our season. How we stand up to that challenge is our objective for the year."
In spite of the defeat and the many mistakes the sophomore-freshman dominated MU team made, there were glimmers of hope. A young quarterback, Reggie Oliver, directed his team to one touchdown, capping the 53-yard drive with a 10-yard alley-oop pass to tight end Tom Smyth.
Smyth, a 205-pounder from Cincinnati, was pleased that he scored Marshall's first new era touchdown.
"It was my first touchdown as a college varsity player," he smiled, "and the fact that it came in our first game, under these circumstances, makes it that much more enjoyable." He wished, however, there could have been more.
Another sophomore, John Johnstonbaugh, was Marshall's leading ground gainer against a defense that could be one of the roughest, and most experienced the Herd will have to face this season.
Johnstonbaugh gained 57 yards on nine carries, all in the first half, and almost broke loose once for a touchdown, a 39-yard burst from the MSU 46 to the seven.
"It was just one of our basic plays," said Oliver. "We call it 15. That's the way our offense is. One time we get three or four yards, and the next time -- boom, you break for a long gainer. We're going to get better. There'll be more long ones like that."
Lengyel said his team made a lot of mistakes, but was quick to point out that they were "honest mistakes, not mistakes out of a lack of effort."
Hallum was quick to point out in defense of the MU defeat, "those kids came out for the second half and went right to score (the first time the Herd had the ball in the third quarter). They were hitting all the way! With that kind of attitude, they're going to give some people a bad time one of these days."
Lengyel complimented his defense. "It got us the ball several times," he said. "And it was cracking. That football got jarred loose a few times (from MSU backs) out there."
However, he was also aware that Marshall's punt and kickoff coverage wasn't as good as it can be. "We tended to cave in toward the ball instead of staying in our lanes.
"Morehead is strong. Their backs run with authority, and because of it they got five yards when maybe they should only have gotten three, and three when they shouldn't have gotten any.
"And (Dave) Schaetzke ... he's just a good running quarterback." The MSU sophomore ran for 87 yards and passed for 109.
Hallum was concerned about his team's offensive turnovers. The Eagles lost four fumbles -- two in each half, and two inside the Marshall 20-yard line.
"That plagued us all last year," said Hallum. "Now we're pleased."