10/03/09 — Pirate defense stops Thundering Herd

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Pirate defense stops Thundering Herd

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on October 3, 2009 11:05 PM

HUNTINGTON, W. Va. -- A game of inches.

Facing a fourth-and-1 at midfield with the nation's leading rusher in the backfield, Marshall coach Mark Snyder called for the quarterback sneak.

East Carolina stuffed the Thundering Herd's Brian Anderson at the line of scrimmage in the final 120 seconds, and sealed a 21-17 Conference USA victory at Edwards Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Pirates (3-2 overall) improved to 2-0 in CUSA East play.

"The big thing is getting a win on the road," said ECU head coach Skip Holtz. "We knew it was going to be tough, Marshall is a physical football team and they have one of the best home records in the country over the last decade."

The teams mirrored each other in the opening half. Each used its running game as its main offensive option.

ECU opened the scoring when Brandon Jackson dove into the end zone from one yard out. Marshall quickly answered when Darius Marshall darted in from two yards out.

"These teams are very similar right now," said Holtz. "We knew we had to control the football and play good defense, and that is what Marshall does as well."

The Pirates seized a 14-7 lead with less than a minute remaining in the first half on a three-yard run by Dominique Lindsay.

Marshall (3-2, 1-1) dominated the third quarter and grabbed a 17-14 lead on Darius Marshall's 20-yard touchdown run. Marshall, who rushed for 142 yards, leads the nation in yards per game.

"That kid is a great football player," said Holtz. "Marshall averaged five yards per carry and scored two touchdowns, and that is below his average for the year which is amazing."

Patrick Pinkney put the Pirates ahead for good on the final play of the third quarter when a broken play turned into a 30-yard touchdown scramble. Pinkney threw for 131 yards, while ECU rushed for 153 yards as a team.

ECU stopped three Marshall drives in the fourth quarter.

"I was really proud of how our guys stepped up late in the game," said Holtz. "We had a chance to win the game on defense and those guys played hard and did a great job."

The Pirates limited the Thundering Herd to 106 yards passing.