November 14, 1970 ... Remembered
Memorial of the 1970 Marshall University Football Team Plane Crash
Broncos Pound Marshall, 34-3
By Mike Brown, Herald-Advertiser Sports Writer
Huntington Herald-Advertiser, October 25, 1970
(Used with permission)
Herd Game Plan Works Almost
Marshall University head football coach Rick Tolley has it all figured out for what it will take his Thundering Herd to win a football game.
"We'll have to get lucky, get about 10 breaks, don't fumble or drop any passes," he said.
Well, the Thundering Herd failed to do any of the four Saturday afternoon at remodeled Fairfield Stadium and wound up dropping a 34-3 Homecoming decision to Western Michigan University.
The Broncos used their three yards and a cloud of AstroTurf attack to perfection in posting their sixth straight victory over Marshall.
Western sent five different backs into the end zone and chewed up the proud Thundering Herd defensive unit for 505 yards, a whopping 409 of it coming on the ground, before a heavily partisan throng of 10,000.
In what is getting to become a familiar sight, Marshall receivers again spent the day dropping passes right and left including two in the first half that had touchdown written all over them.
Quarterback Ted Shoebridge completed only 13 of 40 passes, but the Marshall star deserved better fate as his receivers dropped approximately 10 passes/
The Herd's game plan was simple. It called for hitting the bigger, slow Broncos with the big play early. It almost how many times have you heard that? worked.
What the Marshall game plan did not call for was Dennis Blevins dropping a perfectly thrown pass at the goal line in the first quarter or Joe Hood dropping one on the four with no one between him and the goal line.
Just One Fumble
Marshall lost only one fumble on the beautiful October day, but it, too, was costly.
It came at the Western nine with 29 seconds remaining in the first half.
Marshall had driven from its own 29 to the Bronco 17. From there, Shoebridge hit Art Harris at the 12 and the blocky sophomore spun, was hit at the 10, and the ball popped out of his grasp.
Tom Elias fell on the ball for the Broncos who considered themselves to be lucky indeed as they headed for the dressing room with a 15-3 halftime lead instead of possibly being down 24-15.
"I couldn't believe it when they dropped those passes," said WMU coach Bill Doolittle. "If they had caught those early passes it would have been all over for us."
Western, operating out of the Houston Veer offense which was made for its big, strong backs, moved the ball with such authority and consistency it was almost hypnotic to watch.
The Broncos first four touchdown drives accounted for 59 of the 82 plays they ran off and 310 yards of their total offense figure. All but 35 of the 310 came on the ground.
Western's first touchdown drive covered 76 yards and required 10 plays. It ended with Terry Hinton, not even listed on Western's 80-man roster, skirting right end from 12 yards out.
The next Bronco touchdown was the clincher as far as Tolley and Doolittle were concerned.
After Marcelo Lajterman, whose 47-yard first period field goal had given Marshall a short-lived 3-0 lead, punted the ball out of bounds on the two, Western drove 98 yards for the score.
"Marcelo did what he was supposed to do," noted Tolley. "He put them in the hole but we couldn't hold them down there. That drive put our dampers way down."
This drive required 15 plays, all of them on the ground, and ended with 217-pound Bob Ezelle slamming home from the one. The drive was aided by a Marshall piling on penalty.
"I felt that sorta broke their backs," pointed out Doolittle. "We just put it all together."
Roger Lawson, who entered the game as the nation's 19th leading rusher, made it 21-3 in the third quarter when he dived in from one foot out to end a 16-play, 59-yard march. Lawson finished the day with 132 yards in 22 carries.
Curt Lewis got the next score for Western on a four-yard plunge off right tackle and the Broncos' final TD came in the waning minutes when eager reserves went 35 yards in four plays two of them passes to set the final margin.
Lajterman's field goal, a booming shot which sailed over the crossbar with plenty to spare, was set up when Tom Zborill covered Lawson's fumble on the Bronco 32.
Two passes and a running play netted two-yards, bringing on Lajterman who's score came with 8:10 left in the quarter.
Marshall's offense accounted for 261 yards including 110 rushing on only 21 attempts.
Art Harris picked up 72 yards on 12 carries and also caught four passes for 63 yards.
"We moved the ball well between the 30s," said Tolley, "but then we bogged down when we got down there (in scoring territory)."
MU Lajterman 47 field goal
WMU Hinton 12 run (Carlson kicks)
WMU Ezelle 1 run (Rademacher rush)
WMU Lawson 1 run (kick failed)
WMU Lewis 4 run (pass failed)
WMU Newton 4 run (Carlson kick)
Western Michigan Grignon 11-61; Rademacher 11-31; Lawson 22-132; Newton 3-16; Lewis 16-53; Santo 1-1; Hinton 8-42; Ezelle 16-73.
Marshall A. Harris 12-72; Shoebridge 5-9; Gilmore 4-29.
Western Michigan Grignon 3-5-0 for 44; Rademacher 4-5-0 for 52;
Marshall Shoebridge 13-40-2 for 163; Gilmore 1-2-1 for minus 12.
Western Michigan Flaska 3-44; Thomas 1-16; Wallace 1-11; Pretty 2-25.
Marshall A. Harris 4-63; Hood 2-47; Blevins 5-33; Gilmore 2-20; Shoebridge 1 for minus 12.
Western Michigan: Thomas 5-0; Schroeder 2-2; Igaz 3-1; Brown 3-2; Davis 4-1; Keck 4-1; Elias 1-3; Slater 2-1;
Marshall: Griffith 8-4; Cottrell 5-2; James 4-3; Jordan 4-4; Sanders 4-5; VanHorn 4-5; T. Brown 3-10; Zborill 3-4; Stainback 2-8; Finn 2-8; Shannon 1-11; Bluford 0-8.
Western Michigan: Woodrow, Karlis, Davis 1 each.
Western Michigan: Elias 1.
Marshall: Zborill 1.