MU’s Davis misses 2nd straight game
NORFOLK, Va. — One absentee wasn’t surprising.
No one really expected Marshall University’s injured quarterback Isaiah Green to make the trip for the Thundering Herd match-up Saturday afternoon with Old Dominion in Foreman Field.
But the other absentee?
Everyone sort of took it for granted that senior running back Keion Davis would be back in uniform after missing the 34-24 loss to Middle Tennessee with what appeared to be a leg injury. That wasn’t the case, however.
So, after starting Marshall’s first four games in the usual one-back offense and leading the Herd in rushing yardage, Davis missed his second consecutive game Saturday.
In fact, Davis didn’t even make the trip. Instead, he stayed home with his cousin, Green.
That allowed redshirt sophomore Tyler King to start at running back for the second consecutive week. The move worked out well one week ago as King rushed for a career-high 138 yards in the first half alone, finishing with 165 yards in 27 carries.
Otherwise, junior cornerback Jaylon McClain-Sapp missed his third consecutive game while right guard Alex Mollette (out for the season) was absent for a second straight game. Replacing McClain-Sapp was senior Kereon Merrell, while former walk-on Cain Madden, 6-foot-2, 316-pound sophomore, took Mollette’s place.
CROWD CONTROL: Marshall safety Nazeeh Johnson never had set foot in Foreman Field until Saturday.
But he’s no stranger to Norfolk.
“I’ve never played there, but I’m from northern Virginia,” said the 5-10, 183-pound redshirt sophomore, who attended Millbrook (Virginia) High School. “So, I’ve got family in the Norfolk area.”
In fact, Johnson was hoping his family could bolster Marshall’s fan section vs. Old Dominion.
“Hopefully,” he said with a grin, “half the crowd will be my family.”
Johnson’s family had something to cheer about when he turned in a big pass breakup in the end zone late in the second quarter.
YOUNG BLOOD: True freshman Steven Gilmore received the first meaningful playing time of his career when the young cornerback replaced Kereon Merrell for one play in the first half.
And what a play.
Old Dominion wide receiver Isaiah Harper tried to school the true freshman, but Gilmore didn’t allow it to happen. Instead, he made a big pass breakup downfield in one-on-one coverage.
Talk about a baptismal.
Later in the second half, redshirt freshman Darius Hodge got some playing time at defensive end.
BRADY BUNCH: Marshall quarterback Alex Thomson made no secret of who his favorite receiver is.
It’s No. 8, Tyre Brady.
Let’s put it like this. Five other MU receivers were targeted a combined total of seven times. But Brady? The 6-foot-3, 206-pound senior was targeted on 14 of Thomson’s 22 first-half passes.
That’s 63.6 percent.
CONSISTENCY: Marshall’s first six possessions of the game featured the Herd driving into Old Dominion territory each time. That’s the sort of consistency that was lacking offensively.
The defense also continued its show of consistency. MU still hasn’t allowed an opponent to score a touchdown during a first quarter in 2018.