November 14, 1970 ... Remembered
Memorial of the 1970 Marshall University Football Team Plane Crash
Cards, Fate Trip Herd
By Lowell Cade, Herald-Advertiser Sports Writer
Huntington Herald-Advertiser, October 18, 1970
(Used with permission)
When a football team can't catch the ball, it's difficult to catch an opponent like Louisville.
That's the fate that befell Marshall (2-3) and its fine quarterback, Ted Shoebridge, Saturday at Fairfield Stadium as the University of Louisville (3-3) got away with a 16-14 victory.
And, on the one play when the ball was deliberately thrown poorly, it was the official who muffed the successful attempt at deception.
On top of everything, the last play of the afternoon proves it's a game of inches as Marcelo Lajterman attempted a 57-yard field goal that could have given the Thundering Herd a one-point victory. But the sidewinder from Lyndhurst, N.J., was about a foot short as the ball passed under the bar.
Shoebridge connected on 11 of 28 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown, a seven-yarder to Joe Hood, a tailback turned flanker. But the Jersey Jet could have hit on at least 18, and Coach Rick Tolley saw at least 10 passes that should have been caught.
Just Can't Catch
"We just can't catch the football," he said after the game.
On the first play of the last series of down, however, Shoe was supposed to throw poorly. All season the Herd has worked on a play where Shoebridge throws a bouncing backward (lateral) pass to Bob Harris, the backup quarterback who plays split end.
The ball is not supposed to be whistled dead because it's a lateral. Harris can then throw a forward pass and on this play his primary receiver was to have been Joe Hood. But Saturday the officials blew the whistle, and later, according to Tolley, admitted they'd made a mistake. The reason for bouncing the ball to Harris is simple. When the ball hits the ground, the defense relaxes for a moment.
"We find," said Tolley, "that the ball also bounces perfectly on the AstroTurf."
Louisville took a 6-0 lead at halftime on two field goals, one in each quarter, by Scott Marcue, who also does the Cards punting barefoot. His first was a 25-yarder. Marcus also kicked Louisville to a 9-7 lead in the fourth quarter with a 19-yard field goal.
Louisville's lone touchdown capped a 55-yard, forth-quarter march and Tom Jesukaitis scored it on a one-yard dive on a counter play. Louisville got the football at their own 45 when linebacker Paul Mattingly intercepted a Shoebridge pass intended for Hood.
Gilmore Scores First
Kevin Gilmore scored the first MU touchdown from one-yard out on a slant over right tackle after the Herd got the football on the Cardinals' 25 on a Louisville mix-up. Marcus, back to punt on fourth-and-four, surprised everyone in the ballpark, including Coach Lee Corso, by throwing a pass.
Corso said later the Cards do use such a play, occasionally, and the punter takes his key from the way wide receiver Tony Burdock lines up. But this time Burdock "keyed" the play accidentally.
Shoe to Hood
Marshall took advantage of it, and the key plays included Shoebridge scrambling for nine, and a 10-yard pass to Bob Harris whose good second effort carried to the Card five. Shoe got a first down at the two, and Art Harris had two tries before Gilmore slipped in for the score.
The Herd marched 56 yards for its second touchdown right after Jesukaitis' clinching TD, and Marshall got a break on a 17-yard defensive pass interference call good for a first down on the Cards' 10. Three plays later Shoe hit Hood for the six-pointer.
Louisville, directed by sophomore quarterback John Madeya, gave the Herd a lesson in offense. Madeya passed for 246 yards, hitting 17 of 33 throws. He was intercepted once. His favorite target was tight end Cookie Brinkman who set a Louisville single game record with 10 receptions and 197 yards.
The Cards amassed 447 yards total offense, but the Herd got tough inside its 10 yard line. The first time Louisville moved in close, the Green defense made the visitors go for the field goal, which Marcus drilled.
In the second quarter Louisville got to the MU 21 and a Marcus 38-yard attempt was wide. But with two seconds to play in the half, the Cards were at the MU nine when Marcus made it 6-0.
Before the third field goal by Marcus, Louisville drove 78 yards – from their 20 to the MU two. The Cards didn't only move through the air. They launched a trio of hard running backs, paced by Jesukaitis, the tailback, who picked up 96 in 32 rushes, and fullback Bill Gatti, who gained 94 yards on 17 carries.
Marshall lost a great scoring chance near the end of the first quarter when Gilmore fumbled at the Louisville four. MU started from its 38 following Marcus' first field goal. Shoebridge cranked up on first down and hit Hood on a 59-yard pass that looked like a TD. Officials, however, ruled Joe was bumped out of bounds at the Louisville three.
On first-and-goal Gilmore fumbled to Gary Inman, the Card defensive halfback who doubles as the No. 2 quarterback. Marshall coaches, however, claim Gilmore didn't lose the ball until he hit the turf, and said Tolley: "The runner's down when he hits the ground. The field can't force a fumble. We think it was a slow whistle."
Lajterman missed two other field goal tries. He had a 52-yard attempt go wide in the second quarter, and in the third his 37-yard attempt was blocked as the ball took off like a line drive and was batted down by Louisville end Steve Young.
UL – Marcus 25 FG
UL – Marcus 26 FG
MU – Gilmore 1 run (Lajterman kick)
UL – Marcus 19 FG
UL – Jesukaitis 1 run (Marcus kick)
MU – Hood 7 pass from Shoegbridge (Lajterman kick)
Louisville: Jesukaitis 32-96; Gatti 17-94; Campbell 11-24; Inman 4-10; Madeya 8-(-23)
Marshall: A. Harris 13-80; Gilmore 11-17; Shoebridge 4-20.
Louisville: Madeya 17-33, 246 yards, Inman 0-1-0, Marcus 0-1-0.
Marshall: Shoebridge 11-28-1, 128 yards (for one touchdown), B. Harris 1-2-0, 5 yards.
Louisville: Brinkman 10-197, Burdock 6-57, Gatti 1-(-8).
Marshall: Hood 3-69; Gilmore 5-57; B. Harris 3-15, A. Harris 1-(-8).