MARSHALL — Smith-Cotton scored on its first drive of the game and on the first three drives of the third quarter to beat Marshall 41-14 on Friday.
Carlton Homan had three touchdowns, carrying nine times for 63 yards.
“The line and the running backs in the backfield were blocking great,” Homan said. “That’s all you can ask for from them. They did outstanding and I wouldn’t have been anywhere without them.”
Entering the third quarter with a 17-7 lead, the Tigers put together drives of eight, 14 and six plays for three touchdowns in three possessions to make it 38-14.
“Justin coming out and sticking to the game plan,” said Smith-Cotton coach Ryan Boyer. “One of the things we talked to our guys about in the first half, some of them were trying to do too much. On the offensive side of the ball, we stress three to five yards a play. That’s sucessful. Anythng after that is just an added bonus. In that first half… we were trying to make that big play every time.”
Marshall’s two scores came via a 50-yard punt return and a 76-yard pass but Smith-Cotton defense held the rest of the way.
“I think we kept our heads on pretty straight and that really helped because int he past we’ve kind of been in panic mode in those situations,” Homan said. “We’ve eally kept our head this year and that helped us.”
Marshall quarterback Zach Maupin completed the first six passes he attempted, but the Tiger defense adjusted after that.
“He’s what makes their offense go,” Boyer said. “Defensively, last week we saw a ton of run, this week we saw a little more pass. Defensively we did a good job of making adjustments.”
Smith-Cotton opened the scoring on its first drive, going 80 yards in 11 plays before Homan hurdled his way into the end zone from 10 yards out.
Marshall lost an opportunity to tie the game with a fumble on the S-C 7-yard line but held the Tigers and tied the game on a 50-yard punt return by Erik Mays.
Smith-Cotton jumped back in front with 5:27 left in the second quarter. Caleb Reed broke off a pair of juking runs and Dalton Zaremba lowered his shoudler to set the Tigers up at the Marshall 2 before Noah Azierre carried into the end zone.
Smith-Cotton made it 17-7 on the following drive with a 31-yard field goal.
Smith-Cotton had a chance to add to the lead late in the half after a short punt set them up at the Marshall 30 with 24 seconds left. The first play of the drive was a long pass which scraped off Zaremba’s fingertips at the goalline. On the final play, Reed looked for Blake Jackson in the end zone but Marshall broke the pass up.
Smith-Cotton took the kickoff to open the second half and marched 75 yards in eight plays before Reed found Jackson for a 17-yard touchdown pass.
Marshall needed just two plays to answer. Maupin found Chase Kateman for a 76-yard touchdown pass.
However Smith-Cotton answered with another long touchdown drive. The Tigers went 76 yards in 14 plays including a long carry by Zaremba to get the ball into Owl territory. Homan broke a couple of tackles for a 15-yard score to cap off the drive.
A Jake McFail interception set Smith-Cotton up in Marshall territory again late in the third quarter. Homan added his third touchdown of the game from a yard out on the first play of the fourth quarter.
A low snap on a punt set Smith-Cotton up at the Marshall 11 and Grupe added his second field goal of the game to make it 41-14.
Reed completed 10 of 20 passes for 90 yards. Azierre carried 15 times for 80 yards.
Smith-Cotton (2-0) will take on Warrensburg on Friday.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles