Smith-Cotton got more than 160 all-purpose yards from Steven Archambault in a 28-14 win over Marshall on Friday at Jennie Jaynes Stadium.
The Tiger senior scored three times as S-C opened the home portion of their 2014 schedule with their first win of the season.
“The offensive line opened up holes all night,” he said. “They were blocking all their assignments. We definitely upgraded from last week.”
It was also the first victory for S-C head coach Ryan Boyer.
“It feels great,” he said. “We came out and did some things really well. Came out a little tight, a little nervous. Second half we turned it over, but one thing we were very pleased with is that we stuck together and were able to force turnovers back.”
Marshall ventured into Smith-Cotton territory on the first two drives of the game but got no points from either. The first, set up by a 20-yard Devon Cott run, bogged down when the Tiger defense stopped Cott for no gain on back to back plays and Zach Maupin threw an incomplete pass on 4th-and-6. The second, set up by Maupin’s 46-yard kick return lost ground on the first play and the Owls went three-and-out.
Smith-Cotton held the Owls to a three-and-out on the next drive as well before Marshall once again began moving the ball late in the first half. Taking advantage of a Tiger fumble, the Owls got inside the 20-yard line 10 plays later with less than two minutes on the clock. Smith-Cotton’s defense held again as Lane McFail intercepted a pass in the end zone.
Smith-Cotton’s offense took the lead on a 14-play, 74-yard drive — the Tigers’ first offensive drive of the game — capped off by an Archambault run up the middle.
Taking over at their own 20 late in the first quarter, the Tigers marched 80 yards for their seconds score in as many possessions. A pass interference call moved the ball to midfield. Ricky Warren made a diving catch to advance the ball to the Marshall 13 and Blake Jackson finished the drive, leaping over an Owl defender to haul in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Reed.
It was the second time this season Reed and Jackson have connected for a touchdown.
Smith-Cotton added to the lead on the second play of the second half as Reed connected with Archambault on a shovel pass. Archambault went up the middle 51 yards for the score.
“We faked the defense out, they were all going to the left,” Archambault said. “It just opened up in the middle of the field, it was wide open for us.”
On the ensuing drive, Marshall marched the other way, capped off by Maupin’s bootleg to the left for 33 yards to put the Owls on the board.
Marshall threatened on the next drive as well. Maupin twice carried the ball on third-and-long, the first time converting for a first down, the second bringing up a fourth-and-one. On fourth down, Maupin’s pass over the middle was incomplete and the Owls turned the ball over.
On the next Marshall drive, they again got into Smith-Cotton territory, reaching the six before a fumble recovered by LJ Marsh.
A Smith-Cotton fumble set the Owls up on the Tigers’ three, but the Owls fumbled it back two plays later and S-C went on a nine-play, 98-yard drive which burned more than four minutes off the clock and ended in Archambault’s 47-yard run up the middle for a score.
Marshall answered moments later with another Maupin touchdown to cut the lead to 28-14, but Smith-Cotton recovered the onside kick.
The Owls got the ball back one more time following a fumble, gaining 15 yards on a pass to Cott on the first play before Jayce Simoncic capped off the win for the Tigers with an interception.
Smith-Cotton (1-1) will host Warrensburg in week three.