Fired up Bulldogs pour it on Marshall

By Dave Faries, Editor
Posted 9/23/21

Down 29-16 in their homecoming game, Marshall players engaged in some extracurricular pushing and shoving. Instead of responding in kind, Bulldogs lineman Deacon Haag dropped Owls quarterback Brendan …

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Fired up Bulldogs pour it on Marshall

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Down 29-16 in their homecoming game, Marshall players engaged in some extracurricular pushing and shoving. Instead of responding in kind, Bulldogs lineman Deacon Haag dropped Owls quarterback Brendan Weaver for a five yard loss.

Two plays later, Haag again hunted down Weaver, this time pinning him nine yards back.

"It looks like we pissed off the wrong guy," said a Marshall official standing behind Mexico's bench.

A Bulldog quickly turned and informed him "You pissed off the wrong team."

Mexico rode a late emotional surge to secure a 43-16 win at Marshall on Friday, fueled largely by the chippy nature of the game's second half.

"They put a fire in me," said Bulldogs quarterback Ty Sims, who bulled his way through three defenders at the end of the third quarter for a touchdown and followed up with a powerful plunge to gain the two-point conversion, making it 29-16 heading into the final frame.

Michael White and Andrew Runge reached paydirt in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

The extent of the emotional swing is evident in the drive summaries. Mexico was forced to punt on three of their first four possessions, the lone exception a five yard burst by White with just over a minute to go in the first that broke up a scoreless defensive duel.

Back to back stops set up Mexico's second touchdown. With time ticking down in the second quarter, the Owls pushed into Mexico territory. On third and five, Axavier Reed broke appeared to break through, but White stood him up a yard short of the first down.

"Coach put me in the right spot," White said.

The play was critical. Instead of punting, Marshall opted to go for it on fourth and one, looking to extend the drive. But Isaac Jackson was met by Haag and Kendyr Taylor for no gain.

The Bulldogs turned to Runge for a response and after a five yard gain he broke free for a 59 yard touchdown to make it 14-0.

But Marshall's Brenden Marquess answered and a two point conversion narrowed the gap to 14-8.

With backs like White, Runge and Anthony Shivers, however, the Bulldogs are always poised to strike back. And on the ensuing kick off, White took the ball, made one darting move and raced untouched to the end zone.

"Caleb Prater told me to cut inside, so I did," White explained. "It was just great blocking."

The home side scored to open the second half. But the tone of the game changed and Mexico's defense and offensive line took over. Three times after the break the Bulldogs forced Marshall to turn the ball over on downs.

"We had to step up," Haag said.

The Bulldogs' final score -- another long run by Runge with 2:56 to go in the game -- was set up by viciously effective line play. Jaren Early put his man on the ground to open a huge gap.

"He was pushing into me, so I just threw him down," Early said.

Runge carried 16 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns. White, who gained 37 yards, also recorded two TDs.

Shivers ran 8 times for 82 yards while Sims picked up 24 yards and a score.

On the defensive side, Taylor and Haag each had 11 tackles. Morgan Grubb harried the Owls 9 times, Payton Hoover 8 and White 7.

Kanye Nunnelley broke up a fourth quarter pass to help seal the win.

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