November 14, 1970 ... Remembered
Memorial of the 1970 Marshall University Football Team Plane Crash
Falcons Trim Herd, 26-24
By Lowell Gade, Herald-Advertiser Sports Writer
Huntington Herald-Advertiser, November 1, 1970.
(Used with permission)
MU Loses Gamble, Game
"I blew it we gambled and lost."
Coach Rick Tolley shouldered the blame for Marshall's 26-24 loss here Saturday to Bowling Green before 10,073 Dad's Day fans who watched the Falcons' No. 2 quarterback steal the day from Marshall's backup signal caller.
John Plusquellic came on in the second half for Bowling Green to replace veteran starter Vern Wireman to engineer two touchdowns and a field goal after Marshall led at halftime, 17-7.
Plusquellic, a junior transfer from Pitt, stole the show from Marshall's Bob Harris who quarterbacked all the way for the Thundering Herd. MU regular Ted Shoebridge sat out the game with a bruised shoulder which he suffered in the 34-3 loss last week to Western Michigan.
Tolley ordered his punter Marcelo Lajterman to down the football in the end zone for a safety with 2:19 to play in the game and the Herd leading 24-21. The safety cut the margin to one.
"We thought we could keep them out of the field goal range," said Tolley, "and we didn't think he (Stu Chestina) had the range," But Chestina won the game for the Falcons with a 38-yard field goal with 1:04 left to play. The field goal, which was true with plenty to spare, was Chestina's longest of the season.
Marshall, which lost its fifth game of the season against two victories, and its fourth in a row, showed its best scoring punch since the 31-14 win over Xavier.
Bob Harris had a fine day with 13 completions out of 25 attempts for 205 yards and had some brilliant catches by Dennis Blevins, Joe Hood, and Art Harris.
Harris threw for two touchdowns, a four-yarder to Art Harris and a 14-yard flip to Devin Gilmore. Art also scored on a one-yard plunge.
Bowling Green started the scoring, capitalizing on a Marshall fumble at the Herd 37. Wireman directed his team in nine plays and went the final two yards himself on a slant over right guard.
Drove 58 Yards
Marshall came right back however. Bob Harris drove the Herd 58 yards for a score with 12-12 left in the first half, passing to Art Harris for the six-pointer. The drive got off to a good start when Bobby flipped 28 yards to John Young to put the ball on the Falcon 30.
Lajterman made it 10-7 on a 36-yard field goal with 6:28 left in the half when a MU drive bogged down at the Bowling Green 20. Stu Cottrell, filling in for injured Felix Jordan, started the drive by intercepting Wireman at the Marshall 22. Bob Harris passed to Young for 15 yards and to Blevins for 30 to highlight the drive.
The Herd got another score before the half starting a drive after Al Sayor recovered a Bob Livas fumble at the Marshall 38. Harris struck his team quickly. He teamed up with Blevins for 28 yards to the Falcons 34; 23 yards to Hood at the 17, and a nine-yard pass to Art Harris put the ball on the eight. In three pays, Broadway Artie scored from the one. With Plusquellic at the controls, however, Bowling Green got a quick touchdown to start the second half. He passed 20 yards to Pittman to put the ball on the MU 49, and three plays later, Pittman sprung loose on his reverse.
The Falcons failed to convert the extra point, however, when Chestina was forced to run with a bad center snap.
Late in the third quarter the Herd defense stopped Bowling Green at the Falcons 27, and Chestina punted poorly to Gilmore at the Marshall 45. The ball went through Gilmore's arms, bounded off his knee, and was covered by Saylor at midfield.
Bob Harris connected on 4 of 5 passes to strike the Head for six points. Art Harris caught two for ten and 19 yards, and Hood a nine-yarder, before Gilmore took the scoring pass. Gilmore caught Harris' aerial at the six and twisted past two BeeGee defenders to score.
After a Bowling Green drive ended at the MU 28, Marshall netted minus six yards on three tries and had to punt from its 18. Pittman returned from his 47 to the Herd 48, and Plusquellic quickly directed the Falcons to a touchdown in eight plays. Tailback Roger Murray got the six points from five yards out.
The next time Marshall got the ball Harris threw his first of two interceptions on the first play from scrimmage. The Falcons moved to the Herd seven where the MU defense held with 3:19 left in the game. Marshall took over with a chance to hang onto the ball and the victory. But when A. Harris didn't get the first down, on third and four, Lajterman came on for the safety play.
Bowling Green, victim of Marshall's streak-ending 21-16 victory last year in Huntington, won its second game of the season against four losses and a tie.
Before the safety, Marshall had stopped a BeeGee drive on the seven yard line. Bob Harris ran three straight keepers onto the line and came up short by two yards.
Lajterman came on and lined up in the end zone. When he took the center snap, he dropped to one knee giving BeeGee two points and cutting the margin to one, 24-23. Marshall then got a free kick from its 20, and Lajterman teed the ball up for a soccer-style boot. He kicked to Falcon speedster Bill Pittman at the Bowling Green 32 and Pittman sprinted back to the Marshall 45.
Fullback Ike Wright got eight yards for the Falcons to the 37, then Plusquellic hit end Gary Shaeffer for 11 yards to the 26. Three more Plusquellic passes, however, netted but four yards, and Chestina came on to boot the game-winning field goal.
Pluspuellic had a brilliant second half and made a strong bid for a starting job next week against Ohio U. After Wireman, who hit a record 26 passes against the Herd last year, completed but four of 15 for 51 yards in the fist half, Plusquellic came on to complete 13 of 19 for 146 yards and had one string of ten in a row.
Caught 11 Passes
Pittman, the nation's second best in kickoff returns, caught 11 passes for 151 yards, returned five kickoffs for 105 yards, and scored the Falcons first touchdown of the second half with a 34-yard sprint around left end on a wingback reverse.
Bowling Green Wireman 2 run (Chestina kick)
Marshall A. Harris 4 pass from B. Harris (Lajterman kick)
Marshall FG Lajterman 33
Marshall A. Harris 1 run (Lajterman kick)
Bowling Green Pittman 34 run (run failed)
Marshall Gilmore 14 pass for B. Harris (Lajterman kick)
Bowling Green Murray 5 run (Lawrence pass from Plusquellic)
Bowling Green Safety (Lajterman downed ball in end zone)
Bowling Green FG Chestina 38
MU: A. Harris 25-36, B. Harris 12 (minus 10), Gilmore 4-7
BG: Murray 14-70, Pittman 5-60, Wright 7-34; Bower 5-22, Fields 6-18, Wireman 5-15, Plusquellic 8-12
MU: B. Harris 13-25-2 (205 yards);
BG: Wireman 4-15-1 (51 yards); Plusquellic 13-19-1 (142 yards)
MU: Blevins 2-57; Young 2-44, Hood 3-45, A. Harris 4-41, Gilmore 2-18
BG: Pittman 11-151, Lawrence 2-16, Wright 2-15, Shaeffer 1-12.