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Marshall stunned No. 8 Notre Dame 26-21 on Saturday in South Bend, Indiana, pulling off one of the most shocking upsets over the last few college football seasons. The victory was the Thundering Herd’s first over a top-10 opponent since 2003, while the loss for the Fighting Irish gave them an 0-2 start to a season for the first time since 2011.
The defeat also saw Marcus Freeman make some unfortunate history as he became the first Notre Dame coach to start a career 0-3 and the first to open his inaugural season 0-2 since Lou Holtz in 1986. (Freeman coached ND in last year’s Fiesta Bowl.)
The Thundering Herd, three-touchdown underdogs entering the matchup, per Caesars Sportsbook, saw Henry Colombi throw a 3-yard touchdown to tight end Devin Miller to cap an 11-play, 94-yard drive and give Marshall a 19-15 lead with just over 5 minutes to play. The visitors increased their advantage from there as Steven Gilmore intercepted Tyler Buchner on the next drive, taking the ball 37 yards for a pick six to give Marshall a decisive 26-15 advantage.
Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner left the game with an injury after throwing the interception. Backup Drew Pyne opened his effort by throwing a pick to Owen Porter at Marshall’s 19-yard line, which effectively put a fork in the Irish. However, Pyne did lead a touchdown drive in the game’s final minute giving Notre Dame an onside kick attempt in the remaining seconds that ultimately failed.
Marshall running back Khalan Laborn, a transfer from Florida State, rushed for 163 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries as the centerpiece of a Herd offense that scored on all four of their red zone attempts and averaged 5.2 sack-adjusted rushing yards per carry. Colombi finished the afternoon 16 of 21 for 145 yards and the touchdown to Miller.
Marshall’s last top-10 win came 27-20 over then-No. 6 Kansas State on Sept. 20, 2003. It’s also the first victory for the Herd over any Power Five opponent since they topped Purdue 41-31 on Sept. 6, 2015.
Moments after clinching @HerdFB‘s 2nd top-10 victory in program history, Head Coach Charles Huff was rewarded with a celebratory bath at Notre Dame Stadium. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/trWB6j2h0a
It is a signature win for Thundering Herd coach Charles Huff, 39, who improves to 9-6 overall after posting a 7-6 record in his inaugural season in Huntington, West Virginia, in 2021. Huff, who hails from the Nick Saban coaching tree after serving two years as an associate head coach for the Crimson Tide from 2019-20, is one of the coaches-on-the-rise in the world of college football.
Marshall officially joined the Sun Belt from Conference USA this summer. This game won’t count toward those standings, but it certainly puts the Herd on the map as a Group of Five program on the rise.
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