These days both programs are headed by different coaching staffs. Mark Snyder enters his 3rd year at the helm of
Last season Marshall was 5 – 7 overall, with a C-USA record of 4 – 4. The
Herd finished strong going 4 -2 over the last six games. The down fall of last
seasons team was going on the road,
The biggest departure from last season is RB Ahmad Bradshaw. Returning on
offense is Quarterback Bernard Morris. Morris is a dual threat to pass and run,
last season passing for 1349 yards while running for another 324. The key stat
may be his TD/INT ratio, not to impressive at 8/12 but he did get into the end
zone twice with his legs.
Defensively things were not good, giving up an average of +29 points per game. Even Hofstra put up 31 points. The lowest points in any game allowed was 21, the Herd did it twice against Tulane & UTEP.
Why UC will win this game?
Doug Goodwin: This isn't the Marshall of Bob Pruit days. UC's defense needs to contain Bernard Morris in the pocket and make him one dimensional. The Bearcats defense will keep Morris contained, once the ball is in the air look for UC defensive backs to come away with multiple picks.
Dave Berk: The Thundering Herd may be missing some thunder when it arrives in Cincinnati for their fourth game of the season. While I expect them to enter with a 1-2 record they also could enter sitting with a 0-3 mark after taking on Miami (Fla.), West Virginia and New Hampshire. Yes I said New Hampshire… The Bearcats will have Brian Kelly's offense running and the defense will be ready to pounce on a team already beaten up by their tough early schedule. Don't be surprised if Morris is out at quarterback by this game and a new QB has taken over, maybe even freshman Chris Smith. The Bearcats win because they have more talent across the board as compared to the Herd.
Doug Goodwin: Establish a strong running game with Morris and first year starter running back Chubb Small. Use some short dink passes to TE Cody Slate and keep the Bearcats defense from coming up field to disrupt.
Dave Berk: One of the biggest changes Marshall made was hiring former West Virginia and Syracuse defensive coordinator Steve Dunlap. Teaming with head coach Mark Snyder the pair have the same ideas about how a defense should be ran. For Marshall to win they've got to play solid attacking defense against Brian Kelly's spread with a solid rush from their defensive line. They also must have a go-to option on offense from a running back or wide receiver. Marshall must also solve their issues on special teams from a year ago or suffer loss points.
Doug's Prediction: Brian Kelly's Bearcat Express keeps rolling big, 34 to 7.
Dave's Prediction: Bearcats get the victory but again a tough one 37-13.
Bonus for Game 4:
Doug Goodwin: It wasn't that long ago that Marshall was
everyone's favorite non-BCS school; they were the underdogs who showed up and
gave the big boys fits. In the late 90's the Herd beat both Clemson and
Bearcat fans should get fired up for this game because
Dave Berk: Keep in mind my brother played for West Virginia and I still remember seeing those billboards posted in Morgantown stating Marshall played for championships. Oh how the tide has turned for these two programs.
As I stated above Steve Dunlap is back in West Virginia and that is good for the Herd program. Steve was part of the staff that recruited my brother to West Virginia and he's a great person and coach.
Also keep in mind there is a tie between UC and Marshall as they both hired the defensive coordinator from Ohio State to take over their programs. Mark Snyder took over for Mark Dantonio when the former Bearcats head man took the UC job. Snyder himself didn't last long at OSU as he was lured home to take over the Herd program. If the Herd leaves Cincinnati 0-4 there is a good chance they could fall to 0-7 as they'll have tough road games against Memphis and Tulsa as well as a home game against Southern Mississippi. If this happens the talk of a coaching change will be more than just talk.