A Look At Marshall's First Four Games

The 2014 Edition of the Marshall Thundering Herd entered the season with more expectations than any Marshall football squad since 1999. The schedule, due to Louisville buying out of a scheduled trip to Huntington, was one of the multitude of reasons the Herd was predicted to go undefeated.

The 2014 Edition of the Marshall Thundering Herd entered the season with more expectations than any Marshall football squad since 1999. The schedule, due to Louisville buying out of a scheduled trip to Huntington, was one of the multitude of reasons the Herd was predicted to go undefeated. The first quarter of the season has now come and gone, and much like the Herd has done to teams in the first quarter of games this year, Marshall has walked through the first four without a scare. Marshall has beaten Miami of Ohio, Rhode Island, Ohio and Akron buy a combined score of 182 to 65. Marshall has outscored its opponents 55 to 0 in the first quarter alone.

The offense, led by Rakeem Cato and Tommy Shuler was expected to roll in with a fast paced, high flying, 100 play per game style. Although the offense has flourished, gaining 596.8 yards per game, they are doing it in different ways.

Heading into the season it was expected to be the Cato and Shuler show, with Cato hitting his former high school, middle school, and Pop Warner teammate with 10 passes per game. However, that has not been the case. Shuler is still having a good year, snagging a team leading 17 passes for 247 yards, but he is slightly off his 100 catch season pace that would make him the only college football player to ever achieve 100 catches in three consecutive seasons.

Instead, Marshall is relying on one of the best ground games in the country. Through four games, the Herd is 15th in the nation with 286 yards per game. Marshall is led in rushing by former tight end Devon Johnson. Johnson surprised everyone when he beat out Steward Butler for the starting roll. Through four games, Johnson has rushed for 482 yards. Remi Watson is second on the team with 230 yards, and the aforementioned Butler has 187 yards. Surprisingly to some, quarterback Cato has racked up 175 total rushing yards on the year. Marshall, as a team has 13 rushing touchdowns led by Johnson’s five, and Cato’s four.

The Herd offense has also seen a plethora of young talent playing a big part in their success. Angelo Jean Louis, a former four star standout from Florida, has made a big splash. He has 9 receptions for 263 yards. That is a 23.9 yards per catch clip. He is tied for Shuler in receiving touchdowns with three. He has shown the ability to use his size to make the big first down grabs, and he showed his speed with a dynamic 77 yard catch from Cato against Ohio.

Three years ago, the Herd reached down into the “Muck” and got Davonte Allen. The redshirt junior is finally starting to see the field and produce in a big fashion. On the season, Allen has snagged 14 catches for a team leading 335 yards. Allen also has two touchdowns. He had five early catches against Ohio which basically put the Bobcats to bed in what was expected to be a difficult contest for the Herd.

Jean Louis is not the only youngster to see success on the offensive side of the football.

Freshman running back Brandon Byrd has seen action in three of the Herd’s four contests. He has rushed for 74 yards and showed his speed and power against Akron. He scored his first touchdown, moments after ripping off a 19 yard run.

Ryan Yurachek entered camp as an unknown, unheralded two start tight end from Myrtle Beach. He was originally expected to get reps on the scout team, but he quickly emerged as one of the freshman that Head Coach Doc Holliday continually listed in the group of true freshman who were epected to see playing time. Yurachek has seen action in all four games. For the season he has hauled in 4 catches for 36 yards. The staff and the quarterbacks seem to have trust in the young tight end and he seems to have emerged past Deontay McManus and Joe Wodorum.

Hyleck Foster has shown signs of the type of talent that could explode onto the scene at any time. He has played in three games and has four catches for 40 yards. He had another deep catch against Akron that was called back due to offensive pass interference. He should step into Tommy Shuler’s roll next season in the slot.

Marshall is currently the only team in college football who has over 1100 yards rushing and 1200 yards passing.

What do you think of the offense?

Read what other Herd fans think here The Marshall Offense.

Please feel free to jump in the discussion above.

The roster is littered with young talent. Holliday continually brings in some of the best recruiting classes in all of Conference USA.

Take a look at the roster here 2014 Roster.

Currently Marshall has fifteen commitments for the 2015 recruiting class. The list hit fifteen over the weekend as the Herd received a commitment from one of the top wide receivers in the nation. Three star, and 50th ranked Reggie Rogers from Massillon, Ohio committed to Coach Holliday following the Herd’s trip to Akron this Saturday. Rogers makes the eighth three star commitment for Marshall this year.

The class is also expected to be boosted by five non qualifiers from the class of 2014. Those five are Nyquan Harris, Malik Thomson, Jason Smith, Francisco Hernandez and Keion Davis.

Check out the 2015 commitment list here. 2015 Commitment List.

Take a look back at the Class of 2014 2014 Commitment List.

Marshall will have two weeks to prepare for its next opponent, Old Dominion. It will be the first CUSA game of the year for Marshall and will be its second consecutive road game. Old Dominion will have two CUSA games under its belt when the Herd arrives. ODU beat Rice on the road this past week, and will battle Middle Tennessee State this coming weekend. Middle Tennessee State will visit Huntington for Homecoming the week after Marshall faces ODU.

Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com for all of your Marshall News and Notes.

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