Big plays lift Marshall over Colorado State 31-28 in New Mexico Bowl

Leading up to the New Mexico Bowl, Marshall wide receiver Tyre Brady kept hearing about Colorado State’s explosive offense. Doubters were overlooking the Thundering Herd’s own weapons, he thought.

So when Brady’s chance came in the second quarter, the junior separated himself from Rams coverages and sprinted to a 76-yard touchdown reception, the first of three big scoring plays that allowed Marshall to hold off Colorado State 31-28 Saturday night in the New Mexico Bowl at Albuquerque.

“Every time when you play for yourself, you force things, you press things,” said Brady, who had 165 yards receiving. “But when you play for your teammates, things just fall into place the right way.”

He was joined by Keion Davis, who rushed for 141 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown run. Tyler King added a 90-yard rushing touchdown for the Thundering Herd (8-5).

Chase Litton threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns, overshadowing much-hyped Colorado State quarterback Nick Stevens, who was sacked five times.

The Thundering Herd are 11-2 in bowl games — 5-0 under coach Doc Holliday.

For Colorado State (7-6), it was another disappointing postseason. The Rams have lost four straight bowl games, and lost four of their last five this season after a 6-2 start.

Middle Tennessee 35, Arkansas State 30: Brent Stockstill and the Blue Raiders produced a triumphant finish to an injury-riddled season.

Stockstill passed for 232 yards and two touchdowns and Middle Tennessee (7-6) came up with some key stops to hold off the Red Wolves (7-5) in the Camellia Bowl on Saturday night.

A team that had players miss a combined 125 games with injuries earned its first bowl win since 2009.

“We never made excuses this whole year,” said Rick Stockstill, the quarterback’s coach and father. “A lot of people wanted to give up on us, but this team never gave up.”

There were some chances to fold in this one, too.

The Blue Raiders ran out most of the final five minutes with a series of short passes from Brent Stockstill after losing much of an 18-point lead over the Red Wolves.

Punter Matt Bonadies pinned Arkansas State’s prolific offense 91 yards from the end zone with 1:27 left and no timeouts. Middle Tennessee defenders then sacked Justice Hansen three times, including one by Darrius Liggins on the final play.

That capped a wild game that included DJ Sanders’ 54-yard fumble return for a touchdown, six turnovers and 17 penalties.

The Blue Raiders won four of their final five games after Brent Stockstill returned from a shoulder injury.

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