The Road Matters for The Herd

Nine games into the season, the Marshall Thundering Herd find them in a place they know all too well, a road trip in which they must win. A road game that the season seems to hinge on. This isn't the first one. In 2004, the season hinged on a Friday night game at Akron, the Herd lost.

The road woes have been well documented as a whole, but it seems that there has been multiple times where that one single road loss has kept the Herd from some sort of a goal.

In 2006, Marshall ventured to Southern Miss with a chance to win and go to a bowl. The Herd was beaten early and often, and left with a 42 to 7 loss. Two years later Marshall found itself on the road at ECU. The Herd was 3 – 1 in CUSA, with a chance to knock off the Pirates and storm out to a 4 – 1 record. Marshall lost in overtime, 19 to 16, and failed to even make a bowl.

The following season saw Marshall with yet another chance to run out to a 4 – 1 CUSA record. Marshall ventured to UCF. UCF had been a thorn in the side of the Herd since both teams left the MAC in 2004. Marshall was setting with a 20 – 7 lead. UCF scored, but still, all the Herd needed to do was run out the clock. Marshall lost it center due to an injury, called timeout and brought in their starting guard. Landis Provancha spent the entire timeout unwrapping tape from his hands then he took two practice snaps and out he went. Marshall would both a snap, UCF recovered and scored a few plays later to win 21 to 20.

2010 rolls around, an early season road loss to Bowling Green would prove to be the difference in Marshall playing in the post season or not. Then 2012 comes along. Marshall is setting with a great chance to go bowling, needing to make sure it beats a subpar UAB team on the road. UAB would win, but, this time, Marshall got a second chance. All they had to do was travel to ECU and win on the road. The Herd fell behind early 28 to 7, only to come all the way back and take the lead. ECU converted a long fourth down on its game tying drive late in the fourth quarter which could have won it for the Herd. Marshall would lose in overtime and spend the holidays at home.

Now here we stand, the year is 2013, and Marshall is already bowl eligible, however, this time, winning on the road is what stands between them and a chance to play ECU in the final game of the year for a shot at the CUSA East title. Marshall has already stumbled once on its way to this goal, as the Herd lost at MTSU on the final play of the game, when the defense simply failed to show up. The final score was 51 to 49.

Here is the Herd's second chance. Sure, Marshall plays at FIU next week, but the game at Tulsa is huge. Marshall never has been able to get over the hump on the road, and Marshall is also 0 – 4 against Tulsa in CUSA play. This game will be for everything for Marshall. Will they show up? Time will tell.

Here is a look at some of the numbers leading into tonight's game:

Rushing:

Marshall Offense: 22nd at 215.4 yards per game
Tulsa Defense: 89th at 189.6 yards per game allowed
Marshall Defense: 52nd at 153 yards per game allowed
Tulsa Offense: 77th at 158.1 yards per game

Passing:

Marshall Offense: 28th at 278.2 yards per game
Tulsa Defense: 36th at 216 yards per game allowed
Marshall Defense: 19th at 206.4 yards per game allowed
Tulsa Offense: 81st at 211.3 yards per game

Scoring:

Marshall Offense: 10th at 42.6 points per game
Tulsa Defense: 101st at 34 points allowed per game
Marshall Defense: 25th at 20.9 points allowed per game
Tulsa Offense: 105th at 20.6 points per game

Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com tonight throughout the game for in game discussion.

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