Marshall downs UConn to claim the Myrtle Beach Bowl

CONWAY, SC (AP) — Cam Fancher threw for two touchdowns and Marshall held off UConn’s second-half rally to close the season with a fifth straight win, 28-14 in the Myrtle Beach Bowl on Monday.

The Thundering Herd (9-4) seemingly had things in hand, ahead 28-0 after Raseen Ali’s 2-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter.

But the Huskies rallied with 14- and 24-yard TD runs by Victor Rosa and, after an interception, drove into Marshall territory with 10 minutes to play.

That was as close as UConn (6-7) could get in its first postseason appearance since 2015.

Fancher finished 10-of-20 passing for 93 yards, including a 9-yard scoring pass to Corey Gammage and a 10-yard TD toss to Devin Miller, as Marshall led 21-0 at the half.

Ali ran for 92 yards and Khalan Laborn 90 as Marshall put up 210 yards rushing.

Marshall had one of the season’s most surprising victories, winning at No. 19 Notre Dame, 26-21, in September. It ended the regular season as one of college football’s hottest teams and posted its most victories in a season since winning nine games in 2018.

The Herd also ended a three-game bowl losing streak dating to that same season.

Not that UConn didn’t make it interesting down 28-14. The Huskies got to Marshall’s 42, and when receiver Keelon Marion was bumped on a long pass by defensive back Steven Gilmore without a penalty flag, first-year coach Jim Mora Jr. argued loudly and drew his own 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct flag that stalled the drive.

Two series later, UConn drove to Marshall’s 8, but Turner was picked off in the end zone by Micah Abraham with 5:09 to go.

Turner was 9 of 27 passing for 166 yards with three interceptions and a fumble.

The Herd took advantage of UConn mistakes to build their lead.

After Marshall fumbled the ball away in UConn territory in the opening quarter, Turner fumbled it back on the next play. That led to Gammage’s scoring catch.

Later in the first period, Turner threw a pick-6 that defensive lineman Damion Babers Jr. caught cleanly and carried 34 yards to the end zone for a 14-0 lead.

Marshall followed up UConn’s field goal miss in the second quarter with a long scoring drive that ended with Miller’s scoring catch.

THE TAKEAWAY

UConn: The Huskies had won a total of seven games the past five seasons — they didn’t play during the COVID-19-impacted 2020 season — yet looked revived much of the year in Mora’s debut season. UConn has some blocks to build with for next season, especially in the running game where they averaged just under 200 yards per game.

Marshall: The Thundering Herd expect their strong finish to push them into the 2023 Sun Belt Conference championship chase in their second season in the league. Marshall was picked fourth in the Sun Belt’s East Division this season and finished third.

UP NEXT

UConn: The Huskies get a chance to make a splash early next year as they open at Duke of the Atlantic Coast Conference. If successful, it would mark the second straight season UConn defeated an ACC school after beating Boston College 13-3 this past Oct. 29.

Marshall: Whoever the Thundering Herd play to open the season, they’ll carry one of the country’s longest winning streaks. Only seven FBS teams as of Monday had longer winning streaks than Marshall’s five in a row.

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