The shutout was the first for the Owls since beating Mexico, 22-0, during the middle of the 2008 season.
"We are so stoked," exclaimed MHS senior Marc Plummer, who contributed nine tackles -- including a couple of the game's biggest plays -- to the victory. "We stopped them. We did our job."
The Owls played bend-but-don't-break defense, ending four opposing drives in their red zone.
"That's a great effort by each and every one of those guys," claimed Marshall head coach Jon Stockman. "Coach [Ian] Verts and the defense, boy, they do a great job."
After starting out in their base veer offense, the Owls switched to a spread option during the middle of their first series and executed it effectively. Senior Alex Maupin converted on third down with a 10-yard pass to junior Tyler Cott, scrambled for 21 yards and then zipped a 21-yard bullet to senior Brandon Johnson in the end zone.
"We had to show them something they hadn't seen before," Stockman explained. "It paid off."
The teams traded punts, with Cott finding the coffin corner to force the Tigers to start a drive at their own 6-yard line. However, senior Scott Schwend broke off a 57-yard run to the Marshall 26.
On second down, Plummer broke through the line and sacked senior Mitch Kriegshauser, jarring the ball loose and falling on it at the Kirksville 42.
After another exchange of punts, the Owls got moving again, senior Darion Lawrence picking up a first down with an 8-yard run and Plummer then breaking through into the second level and speeding away from Tigers on a 44-yard touchdown dash.
"I knew they had a lot of speed on the back side, so I said, 'I got to go now,'" Plummer recalled. "The offensive line played incredible."
A 22-yard Kriegshauser pass to senior Jonathan Broce got Kirksville to the Owls' 12 in the final minute of the half. The Tigers got to the 2-yard line before two penalties sent them back 15 yards.
Broce caught a 13-yarder and got out of bounds to stop the clock with 13.1 seconds to go. Out of timeouts, Kirksville sent 235-pound senior fullback Parker Osborn up the middle, but the 175-pound Plummer stopped him in his tracks and time expired before a fourth-down attempt could be snapped.
"It was huge," Stockman said about the goal-line stand. "It was huge to go into halftime two scores up."
The Tigers drove to Marshall's 33-yard line to begin the second half, sophomore Makenna Cook picking up 32 yards on seven straight running plays out of the Wildcat formation, but on fourth down and two yards to go Cott and senior Austin Stickels kept Schwend from reaching the marker.
A Cott punt pinned Kirksville in at their 4-yard line, but junior Kyle Gross' 25-yard catch provided the home team some breathing room. The Tigers stalled and Cott blocked a punt to set the Owls up 27 yards from paydirt.
Marshall went with the bomb on its first play, but senior Asa Sparks had the inside position and picked off the pass at the 7. Kirksville tried to beat the Owls deep on its first snap, but sophomore Devin Cott was waiting for his third interception of the season.
Marshall cashed in on the turnover. Tyler Cott ran for 11 yards and Plummer rumbled 20 yards to the Tiger 1-yard line before bulling across the goal line on the next play.
Kirksville (2-2, 0-2 NCMC) got into Owls territory once more, but a pair of incompletions handed possession over on downs with 5:02 to go and it never got the ball back. Plummer kept the chains and clock moving with a 31-yard gain on a swing pass for a first down.
Plummer had 153 yards in all-purpose yardage, notching his third 100-yard rushing performance, as Marshall (3-1, 2-0) has pulled out to its best start to a season since going 7-1 in 2002 -- the last time it won the NCMC title and reached the Class 4 quarterfinals.
The Owls return home Friday for a Homecoming clash with winless Fulton.
"They've bought into what we're teaching them and it's paid off for them on Friday nights," Stockman described his team's current confidence level.