Marshall 31, Xavier 14

November 14, 1970 … Remembered

marshall xavier

Joe Hood flips through
for a 9 yard gain.

MU Trips X, 31-14

By Mike Brown, Herald-Advertiser Sports Writer. Huntington Herald-Advertiser, October 4, 1970.(Used with permission)


Marshall University head coach Rick Tolley takes pride in his defense. Saturday night in Xavier Stadium, the Thundering Herd defense justified Tolley’s pride. The Marshall defense scored one touchdown and set up another in the final two minutes to enable the Herd to post a 31-14, victory over a rugged Xavier team.

Marshall, unable to stand the prosperity of a 17-0 half-time lead, floundered badly in the second half and found itself standing on the brink of disaster when suddenly its defense turned the complexion of the game completely around.

The Musketeers, who drove 69 yards for a touchdown the first time they got the ball in the second half, cut the lead to three points, 17-14 with 6:49 left and had the ball with three minutes left when disaster struck in the form of Greg Finn, Pete Naputano and Larry Sander. The first big play by the MU defenders came with 2:53 left when Finn barreled in and forced XU quarterback Paul Smith to fumble as he attempted to pass from his own 23 on a second-and-10 play.

By the time the elusive football came to rest, Naputano was hugging it on the two-yard line. With 1:45 to go, quarterback Ted Shoebridge, who scored on a 16-yard run in the first period, sneaked in from the one-yard line.

TD for Sanders

The next big play came with only 34 seconds left when Sanders picked off an errant Smith pass in the right flat and streaked it 51 yards to score. That made it 31-14 and the game Musketeers were dead.

Both Xavier scores came on fourth down plays.

Smith passed 13 yards to end Dave Myers for the first score and he teamed with Jon McCormick for the second score on a fourth-and-12 at the Marshall 18.

The second XU touchdown was set up when Art Harris fumbled away the ball on his own 14-yard line.

The Marshall offense, a doormat in the Thundering Herd’s first two games of the season, ripped the mistake-prone Xavier defense for 245 yards in the first half.

Shoebridge completed 9 of 16 passes for 141 yards and the running game, spearheaded by Hood’s 50 yards on 13 carries, tacked on another 101.

Most encouraging was the Thundering Herd’s ability to move the ball for sustained periods as evidenced by touchdown marches of 62 and 96 yards.

The Herd got its first chance to go on the offense following an interception by Cincinnati sophomore Felix Jordan, his third of the season.

Jordan’s interception of Smith’s pass and subsequent six-yard return gave Marshall excellent field position at its own 45.

The Thundering Herd moved the ball to the Xavier 34 before bogging down. A delay of game penalty on a field goal attempt moved the ball back to the 39 and Lajterman instead punted into the end zone.

Again the Herd defense held and Xavier’s Dave Myers punted to Hood on the Marshall 38. From there the Herd marched the distance in eight plays with Shoebridge rolling around left end from 16-yards out with 5:59 left in the first period.

Twice the drive was kept going when Marshall was able to pick up short yardage on third downs. On third and one at the MU 47, Shoebridge got three on a quarterback sneak. On third and one at the Xavier 41, Hood got two to the 39. Then the Herd scored in two plays from there. Shoebridge first hit Art Harris on a swing pass with Harris carrying the ball to the 16 from where the Jersey Jet scored his third TD of the season.

Second Drive

Marshall’s second scoring drive was a methodical one which required 14 plays and consumed nearly seven minutes.

Marshall gained possession of the ball on its own eight when Hood called for a fair catch on Myers’ punt. MU was penalized four yards on an illegal procedure call and from there proceeded to grind it out.

The drive nearly was nipped in the bud when the Herd found itself in a first and 19 position from its own 19 following a clipping penalty.

However, Shoebridge rallied his troops and got out of the hole when he hit Hood on a screen pass which carried to the 31, good for a first down.

Xavier was then called for a personal foul, putting the ball on the MU 46. Hood got eight and Art Harris three to put the ball on the XU 42 as the quarter ended.

Fires To Harris

Hood got two and then Shoebridge fired to Bob Harris for 23 yards and a first down at the Musketeer 17. The Herd then got a big break when XU was called for another personal foul which put the ball on the eight.

On the next play, XU was called for pass interference in the end zone, putting the ball on the one from where Hood dived into the end zone.

Lajterman’s field goal came with 10:17 left in the half after Scottie Reese covered an Xavier fumble on the MU 38. The drive was stopped at the 22 and on fourth down Lajterman booted his 38-yarder. He missed attempts from 57-yards with 7:13 left in the half and again from 44-yards as the half ended.


Marshall 7 10 0 14 31
Xavier 0 0 7 7 14

MU Shoebridge 16 run (Lajterman kick)
MU Hood 1 run (Lajterman kick)
MU Lajterman 38 FG
XU Myers 13 pass from Smith (Huber kick)
XU McCormick 18 pass from Smith (Huber kick)
MU Shoebridge 1 run (Lajterman kick)
MU Sanders 51 run interception (Lajterman kick)


  Marshall Xavier
First downs 15 18
Rushing yardage 156 92
Passing yardage 154 198
Passes 11-21-2 17-34-1
Return yardage 156 111
Punts 7-36-4 9-31-7
Fumbles lost 1 2
Yards penalized 87 107



Marshall- Hood 23-67; Shoebridge 15-56; A. Harris 11-22;
Xavier- Lancaster 9-57; West 4-19; Ragon 4-14; McCormick 6-10 Hower 2-3; Brady 1-minus 5; Smith 11-minus 6.


Marshall- Shoebridge 11-21 for 154 yards;
Xavier- Smith 16-32 for 202 yards, 2 touchdowns; Brady 1-2 for minus 4 yards.


Marshall- Art Harris 5-45; Bob Harris 3-59; Hood 2-31; Young 1-19;
Xavier- Meyers 4-63, 1 touchdown; McCormick 2-36, 1 touchdown; Hower 4-42; West 2-25; Lancaster 2-8; Knoppe 1-8; Pfeiffer 1-12; Dever 1-18.

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