Yurachek’s final catch a fitting end
HUNTINGTON — The end of Marshall’s 31-28 win over Colorado State in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl featured a bit of a fitting end.
For years Marshall tight end Ryan Yurachek spent his time consistently making difficult catches in traffic to keep the offense moving. His final catch in a Marshall uniform might have been his easiest, however.
Facing third down-and-5 in the final minutes with the outcome hanging in the balance, Colorado State brought a full house at quarterback Chase Litton, who easily lobbed a pass to Yurachek in the flat at the line of scrimmage with no one around him. Yurachek hustled past the yard marker for a first down and hoisted the ball in the air to signify the Thundering Herd clinching the victory.
It was the final snag in a season when he hauled in 54 passes for 490 yards and 10 touchdowns.
His final touchdown with the Herd came earlier in the game when he dove to snag a 15-yard dart from Litton over the middle in the second quarter.
For his career, Yurachek had 143 receptions for 1,354 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Yurachek leaves Marshall as one of the all-time great tight ends in Herd history. He was second in career touchdowns behind Gator Hoskins (28) while finishing third in most pass receptions and reception yardage behind Cody Slate (199-2,619) and Sean Doctor (147-2,100).
DURANT’S PLAY BIG: With Colorado State driving late in search of a game-tying or game-winning score the Rams had fourth down-and-five at their own 44-yard line.
Marshall defensive end Davon Durant came unblocked and had a free shot on CSU quarterback Nick Stevens, if he wanted it. Instead of taking the shot, though, Durant showed poise and watched Stevens’ eyes, timing his jump with the quarterback’s release to bat the ball back toward the line of scrimmage.
Stevens caught the ball on the rebound and was tackled short, helping the Herd solidify the win with 1:27 remaining.
It was an example of team over individual for Durant. He could’ve had a hit on the quarterback that defensive ends dream of, but the win was most important for him.
STREAK STILL LIVES: Marshall now is atop the Football Bowl Subdivision lead for most consecutive bowl wins with six.
The streak began with the 2009 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and was followed by the 2011 St. Petersburg Bowl, the 2013 Military Bowl, the 2014 Boca Raton Bowl, the 2015 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl and the 2017 Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday has never lost a bowl game with the Herd, moving to 5-0 and Marshall has never lost a bowl as a member of Conference USA. The last bowl loss came in the Herd’s final game as a member of the Mid-American Conference against Cincinnati (32-14) in the 2004 Fort Worth Bowl.
On the other side, Colorado State has lost four consecutive bowl games. The Rams’ last win came in the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
Grant Traylor is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2860. Follow him on Twitter @GrantTraylor.