Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 27, 2014

Hunt hot as Herd caps off spring football

By GARY FAUBER
for the Daily Telegraph

HUNTINGTON — On a day when several players from Marshall’s glory days returned to their stomping grounds, Justin Hunt got to meet his idol.

Legendary quarterbacks Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington served as honorary coaches for the annual Green and White Spring Game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Hunt met them both, but shaking hands with arguably the most gifted athlete ever to wear a Marshall uniform is something that will live with Hunt the rest of his life.

Hunt is a receiver, so it isn’t hard to figure out who he was most affected by.

“I met all of them, but the one who really stood out was Randy Moss,” Hunt said after his big game Saturday. “That was my role model. He shook my hand. I don’t want to wash my hand (again).”

All receivers who commit to Marshall know all about Moss, the future NFL Hall of Famer. On Saturday, Hunt played like he wants to be the next Moss.

Hunt, a rising sophomore out of Memphis, Tenn., caught three passes for 153 yards including two long touchdown catches, to lead Team Leftwich to a 30-13 win over Team Pennington in front of a crowd of 9,163.

Quarterback Gunnar Holcombe was the deliverer of both of Hunt’s TDs, which covered 60 and 65 yards.

“He told me before the spring game that he was going to look my way and give me a vibe early,” Hunt said. “I told him to throw me the ball, no matter who was (covering) me. It was fun. It was the best spring. It was great.”

Holcombe, a redshirt sophomore out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was 11 of 18 passing for 220 yards. In addition to the touchdowns to Hunt, he also had a 30-yarder to redshirt freshman Angelo Jean-Louis.

As expected, senior quarterback Rakeem Cato’s day was pedestrian and short-lived. He completed 3 of 11 passes for 102 yards, many of his attempts going deep.

Cato was the only quarterback to wear a red no-contact jersey. The others were live and open to being hit.

“I think being live was good for us,” Holcombe said. “I think I took a baby step. I have a long way to go. Cato tells me everything. If I do something wrong, he’s on my ... butt. I want to push him, and I want the guys I’m competing with to push me.”

True freshman Cole Garvin was 10 of 17 for 109 yards and a 19-yard touchdown to Deon-Tay McManus.

In all, Marshall rushed 51 times for 224 yards and was 24 of 50 for 431 yards passing for 655 yards of total offense (6.5 yards per play).

Steward Butler was the leading rusher with 95 yards on five carries. Kevin Rodriguez had 60 yards on 11 carries.

Gary Thompson have five tackles, including a sack, and a forced fumble, and Mark Shaver had a pair of interceptions to lead the defense.

The 2014 season will begin Saturday, Aug. 30, at Miami (Ohio).

— E-mail: gfauber@register-herald.com and Twitter @GaryFauber