In the second quarter a punt of only 34 yards was just as effective, a coffin-corner kick downed at the Rice 5. That helped deny the Owls a chance at a late touchdown, giving the Herd a 21-14 halftime lead.
His final punt was the most critical. Taking the snap from Marshall goal line, he fired the ball past the Rice returner and it rolled to the Owls' 21, good for a career-high 66 yards.
His defensive teammates needed every yard. Had that kick been 2 yards shorter, Rice quarterback Taylor McHargue might have cleared the goal line with his shoulder-banging dive at the end of a 47-yard run. One yard shorter and the Owls could have scored on the next play.
As it was, Rice settled for a field goal and overtime, where the Herd finally prevailed. In a game where Marshall scored eight touchdowns, punting was as important as anything.
And remember, punting was one of the Herd's top questions entering the season.
"Tyler, his foot is amazing. It's crazy, knowing he's so young," said Herd safety Okechukwu Okoroha. "He helps us out a lot, pinning them down there, just booming it out of the park. He's helping us out a lot; that's what he needs to keep doing."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.