Black squad wins MU spring game over Green team
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Black team jumped out to a 14-0 lead and held off a late surge by the Green team in a 24-17 win in front of 5,577 fans at the 2023 Marshall Spring Game, presented by Ohio Valley Bank, on Saturday afternoon.
Veterans stepped aside from the limelight and young running backs took full advantage for both sides as players showcased their ability on a beautiful day at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
“I feel like now we have a holistic view of where our roster is,” Marshall head coach Charles Huff said. “In the spring, it kind of felt good to step back and get the aerial view and see a little bit of everything.”
McElroy led the Black team with 66 yards on six carries, including a 48-yard run that later set up his own 9-yard touchdown, which put the Black team in front 14-0 in the first half.
“We finally got to show our stuff in front of a lot of people, so it was good,” said Black team running back DeMarcus McElroy. “It felt good. I haven’t ran the ball like that in a while.”
The Green team started to rally behind its rushing attack of Maurice Jones and A.J. Turner, who each finished with 74 yards in the contest. Jones’ 7-yard touchdown cut the deficit in half late in the second quarter and the Green added a 35-yard field goal by Sean Meisler to get within 14-10 following a big pass from Cade Cunningham to Caden Burti and a 20-yard run by Turner.
However, the Black team excelled in the two-minute drill and used a 36-yard screen pass from Maddox McMillen to Caleb Coombs and a 29-yard pass from Cole Pennington to Demarcus Harris to get a 27-yard field goal for a 17-10 halftime lead.
Harris proved big again for the Black team, catching a 54-yard touchdown pass from Chase Harrison in the third quarter that put Black up 24-10 and proved to be the game-winning score.
Green got a 1-yard scoring run from quarterback Colin Parachek to cut it back to a one-score game and got past midfield on a last-minute drive, but the clock ran out to secure the second straight win for the Black team.
Quarterbacks were a big focus coming into the game and with Cam Fancher serving as offensive coordinator for the Green team, the young signal-callers got their shot on both sides to show their stuff.
For the Black team, Pennington finished 3 of 8 for 101 yards and an interception while Harrison was 4 of 9 for 70 yards and the touchdown pass. McMillen also completed his only pass for 36 yards.
Pennington completed a 62-yard pass to wide receiver Bryan Robinson on the second offensive play of the day for Black to set up a 10-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Gordon that opened the day’s scoring.
“Last year, I was just observing so this year, to be able to play in it, it was good experience,” Pennington said. “Coach Trickett always tells us to know what you’re doing – your assignment, your alignment – and get out there and go through your reads. Once you know what to do, do it fast.”
The Green team was led in passing by Cunningham, who finished 9 of 16 for 106 yards while Parachek was 2 for 8 for 25 yards.
Defensively, Green’s Jadarius Green-McKnight showed flashes in the secondary, finishing with four tackles and a quarterback hurry. For the Black team, A.G. McGhee led the way with four tackles, including two tackles for loss, while Dyoni Hill added four tackles.
Marshall’s focus now turns to the summer where the team will hit the weight room in anticipation for fall preseason camp, which leads up to the 2023 season opener against Albany on Sept. 2 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
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