Herald-Advertiser, Sept. 26, 1971.
A football team nearly always reflects the personality of the head coach.
Marshall University's victorious Young Thundering Herd did just that Saturday afternoon when it shocked Xavier University, 15-13, for a victory which many felt would be much longer coming.
"They held their poise and stayed in there," said Coach Jack Lengyel in the celebrating Marshall dressing room minutes after Terry Gardner had scored his dramatic touchdown.
While those around him were hardly able to contain themselves, Lengyel calmly stood in his Fairfield Stadium office wiping his forehead with a towel.
How, someone asked Lengyel, can you stay so calm at such a moment?
"I usually don't get excited," he grinned. "I just get a little upset sometimes when things don't go right."
Lengyel had very little to get upset about Saturday as his Young Herd stunned the Musketeers and the estimated record crowd of 13,000 who were on hand to see Marshall win in only its second game of the season.
"It was a total team effort -- a 60-minute total team effort," he said. "That's the only way you could describe it."
"It was a storybook finish," he added. "No one thought we had a chance to win except the team."
Marshall, which nursed first a 3-0 and then a 9-6 lead, saw its hopes of victory apparently go down the drain when John Gompers, a product of Wheeling Central High School, scoot 48 yards with a punt to give Xavier a 13-9 lead with 4:09 to play.
"We told them to keep their heads up," said Lengyel, "that they still had four minutes to do something with the ball."
Marshall then got the football back for one last crack with 1:18 left on the Xavier 48.
"The defense did an outstanding job all day," pointed out Lengyel. "When the offense started moving the ball in the second half, it took a lot of pressure off of them."
The Herd offense, directed by quarterback Reggie Oliver, coolly moved in for the score. Twice Oliver passed for the first down on fourth down, once hitting Jerry Arrasmith for 11 yards on fourth-and-10 and again to Arrasmith for eight on fourth-and-two.
Then came the clinching heave to Gardner who scored when Jack Crabtree flattened Xavier's Leo Burby.
"That's the greatest block I'ver ever seen," said Gardner, a freshman from Portsmouth. "I couldn't believe Jack got out there as quickly as he did. He was the only guy that had a shot at me and when I saw the block, I knew I had a touchdown."
Oliver was a last-minute starter and nearly didn't get back in for the final scoring drive when he suffered a bump on the elbow midway through the fourth period.
"The team doctor told us Reggie could go back in," said Lengyel who decided to start Oliver over Dave Walsh when he watched both of them warm up in pre-game drills.
"I was watching them (Oliver and Walsh) warm up and it was then that I decided to start Reggie," Lengyel explained.
"He has poise, is a team leader and throws well," he added, "and I knew we had to throw the ball to beat Xavier."
"Red (Dawson) made the call on the winning play," said offensive coordinator Jim McNally. "We talked about it over the phone, but it was Red's call."
The Marshall defense had a field day, too, and defensive coordinator John Riley pointed out, "We didn't have a substitution all day -- those eleven guys went all the way."
Defensive line coach Andy Nameth, who was an assistant coach at Ohio State for two years, ushered a big grin and said, "This was greater than the Rose Bowl win the year we beat O.J. (Simpson) and Southern Cal.
"The defensive line simply did a great job."