This past Saturday Marshall moved to the same record for the first time since that season. Marshall has early season wins over Miami of Ohio and Gardner Webb. Neither teams our powerhouses, but wins none the less. Now it is time to Battle for the Bell. Marshall will travel to Athens, Ohio to battle the Ohio Bobcats for the Bell. Ohio, as most know, have won the last two battles, including a 44 to 7 pasting of the Herd two years ago in Athens.
That 2011 game involved a true freshman Rakeem Cato, getting flustered early and often. Now, that same Cato is just a little under the pace to eventually break passing records held by the great Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich. Cato currently is averaging 241.5 yards per game this season, but the Herd has not had to pass nearly as much against its opponents as the running game has shredded each teams' defense.
Marshall is the favorite this time around to defeat the Bobcats and head into Blacksburg next week undefeated to face the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Gardner Webb Recap:
Marshall jumped out to a quick lead, and continued to add to the lead until mid way through the 3rd quarter. At that point both teams seemed more interested in just getting the game over with and moving on. Neither team scored in the 4th quarter. Marshall scored 50 points in consecutive games and pitched its first shut out since the final game of the 2003 season when the Herd shut out Ohio University.
Marshall has outscored its opponents by a score of 107 to 14 on the season, and neither team has scored in the second half on the Marshall defense. Marshall is currently 7th in the country in total defense, a drastic improvement over the efforts of last season.
Neville Hewitt leads the team in tackles through two games with only 13, however, the Herd is playing so many players, that no one on the defensive side of the ball has had to play too many snaps.
The offensive leaders are the aforementioned Cato who has thrown for 482 yards and 6 touchdowns, with only one interception. Tommy Shuler leads the team with 14 catches for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns. Steward Butler is the leading rusher with 258 yards on 26 carries, and three touchdowns.
One area that Marshall could work on is in third down conversions. Currently on the season, the Herd has converted 12 of 29 3rd downs into first downs, that is a 41% conversion percentage.
Through the first two games Marshall has sent out the same starting lineup on the offensive side of the ball. However, the defensive side has seen a couple changes. Steve Dillon started in front of James Rouse at DT against Gardner Webb, and Evan McKelvey started at linebacker over Neville Hewitt. The lineup should change again this weekend as Brandon Sparrow is expected to miss the game due to injury. Josh Brown, Steve Dillon, and Jarquez Samuel should team with Rouse to provide depth.
True Freshman who have played so far this year, and will not be redshirted:
WR – Justin Hunt
DB – Tiquan Lang
DB – Michael Johnson
K – Amoreto Curraj
WR – Josh Knight
C – Michael Selby
Virginia Tech transfer Donaldven Manning is currently listed on the roster and will be wearing number 29. Manning will not be able to play this year due to setting out as a transfer. Number 29 was worn by Shawn Samuels who left the program.
Marshall also has a new kicker on the roster, Kaare Vedvik. Vedvik is a 6'3, 188 pound kicker from McPherson, Kansas. Vedvik is a freshman.
Kickoff is 8pm from Peden Stadium
Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com for further updates.
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