This game is a big deal. It's not often that an Power 5 Conference team visits Huntington, W.V. to play the always dangerous Marshall. It's so big that when No. 3 Louisville faces the Thundering Herd on Saturday night, it'll will equal West Virginia's 2007 squad as highest-ranked team to ever play in Marshall's Edwards Stadium.
Sold-out and labeled a 'Stripe the Stadium' game, where sections will alternate in dress between the school colors of green and white. The Cardinals (3-0), who became the national headline after drubbing then No. 2 Florida State 63-20, enter the contest as a near four touchdown favorite. Marshall (1-1) is looking to bounce back following a 65-38 turnover-riddled home loss to Akron last Saturday.
LOCATION: Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV (38,148)
DATE: Saturday, September 24
KICKOFF: 8:00 p.m.
RADIO: Louisville Sports Properties Network
Play-by-Play: Paul Rogers
Analyst: Alex Kupper
Reporter: Jody Demling
TV: CBS Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Carter Blackburn
Analyst: Aaron Taylor
Reporter: Jenny Dell
This is the 29th meeting between the two programs that are separated by just a three hour drive on I-64. Dating back to 1987, the Thundering Herd have won four straight in the series, including a pair of bowl games and a 17-13 win at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in 2011.
Both teams enjoy a high-octane offense, with each averaging over 50 points per game. The two teams are among six teams nationally that are averaging 50.0 points per game, with Texas Tech, Ohio St, Michigan and Miami (Fla.) also in the group.
- While U of L hasn't played at Marshall since 1977, the Cardinals do hold a four-game winning streak and are 8-7 overall in Huntington.
- Following two league contests, U of L ranks first in the ACC in rushing offense, passing efficiency, total offense and scoring offense. The Cards are among the top three in the league in passing offense, sacks, sacks allowed and punt return average.
- Members of Conference USA from 1996-2004, this will be U of L's second opponent from the league this season after opening with a 70-14 win over Charlotte. The Cardinals are 62-54-1 against the current configuration of C-USA.
- Bobby Petrino was won 12 straight against Conference USA competition.
- Louisville has won 18 of its last 19 games against Conference USA foes with the only loss coming in that 2011 meeting against Marshall.
- The combined scoring average (Louisville 65.0, Marshall 50.0) will be the highest of any matchup in the FBS this weekend. Arizona State/California (95.0) is No. 2.
- Marshall has averaged 11 wins a season over the last three and owns one of the best FBS totals in that three-plus-season span. Currently, only seven FBS teams have more victories since the start of the 2013 season.
- Among Group of Five programs, Marshall (.828) has the best winning percentage since the start of the 2014 season. MU is followed by Houston (.800) and Boise State (.793).
- The Thundering Herd is No. 1 in passing offense among Group of Five teams and is fourth among all FBS programs.
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QB Lamar Jackson: The Sports Illustrated cover boy and Heisman Trophy favorite, Jackson literally sets new records each week. He enters week four as the nation's leader with 10 rushing touchdowns. His eight passing touchdowns is No. 16 nationally.
RB Brandon Radcliff: Has enjoyed back-to-back 100-yard outings and is averaging a staggering 11.0 yards per carry.
LB Keith Kelsey: Currently the team leader with 19 tackles, the senior is attempting to become only the 13th player in school history to lead U of L defense in tackles in back-to-back seasons.
QB Chase Litton: The 6-foot-6 sophomore leads Conference USA in total offense (361.0) and passing efficiency (181.7). He's tossed 10 touchdowns with two interceptions.
DL Gary Thompson: An All-Conference honorable mention selection last season, he is the team's active career sack leader with 20.
WR Deon-Tay McManus: Marshall's top returning receiver from 2015 with 61 career receptions, 756 yards and seven touchdowns, the junior is averaging 20.2 yards per catch this season and has scored twice.
Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino on what to expect from Marshall:
"They can really throw the ball. They've got great schemes. They've been doing it there for a long time, so they really understand what they're doing. They're very, very well-coached, and they got good players."
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday on U of L QB Lamar Jackson:
"[For] as long as I've coached, I'm nott sure I've ever seen a quarterback like Jackson that takes over game like he does. I just watched him play against a team that has got great speed and I've never seen a guy run away from people like he did against Florida State."