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Wells tosses four touchdown passes in college debut, Marshall coasts to 59-0 victory over EKU


KyForward staff

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The good news for Eastern Kentucky University is that for three hours Saturday afternoon, a national television audience watched its football team square off against Marshall.

The bad news is that Marshall freshman quarterback Grant Wells passed for 307 yards and four touchdowns as the Thundering Herd coasted to a 59-0 win over EKU at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Wells, a week after officially being named the Thundering Herd’s new QB, made his debut behind center in record-breaking fashion. He set a program record for most passing yards in a quarterback’s debut.

Marshall quarterback Grant Wells (8) passed for 307 yards and four touchdowns as the Thundering Herd coasted to a 59-0 victory against EKU. (MU photo)

“You can’t hardly script it much better than it went,” Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said.

An ESPN nationally televised audience watched as Wells completed his first eight passes. In fact, his first incompletion – a slightly high throw that deflected off the intended receiver’s hands – did not come until 1:52 p.m., 49 minutes after kickoff.

Wells’ first complete pass was to sophomore receiver Broc Thompson. The first touchdown pass of Wells’ career came on a 22-yard throw to the end zone to senior tight end Xavier Gaines. Senior tight end Garet Morrell caught a career-long pass in the first quarter and snagged a 2-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.

Sophomore receiver Talik Keaton set a personal best for receiving yards and had a career long reception. Senior receiver Jaron Woodyard scored on a 42-yard bomb, his first collegiate touchdown.

And that was in the first half alone.

“He does the same thing in practice,” Marshall senior safety Nazeeh Johnson said of Wells. “He puts the ball on the money every time. It’s not new.”

Marshall (1-0) won its home opener for the 10th consecutive season and dominated the visiting Colonels in every statistic.

Parker McKinney started at quarterback for Eastern (0-1) and completed 7-of-10 passes for 71 yards. Quentin Pringle gained 39 rushing yards on six carries, while Keyion Dixon caught three passes for 34 yards.

Thundering Herd running back Brenden Knox rushed for 85 yards on 18 carries and scored a touchdown.

While the Marshall offense generated 34 first downs, the EKU managed just seven. The Herd finished with a 282-86 advantage in rushing yards. Marshall owned a 627-166 advantage in totals yards.

EKU plays at West Virginia next Saturday at noon.

(Information compiled from Marshall, EKU and staff reports)


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