The halfway point of the season ends when the Herd kicks off at Florida Atlantic today at High Noon on Fox College Sports. It will be the third CUSA game of the year for Marshall and they currently stand 2 – 0, and 5 – 1 on the season. The Herd doesn’t have an off week until the last week of the season, so now is as good a time as any to take a look at some of the first half highlights, lowlights, those who have exceeded expectations, and those who have not.
Herdhaven.com is here to break down the first half of the 2015 season.
Most valuable player – The most valuable player thus far is Matt Cincotta. The senior long snapper is the leader of the most productive unit that dresses in the Shewey Building each day, the special teams. Cincotta has yet to have a bad snap, he has accumulated four tackles, and recovered a fumble. He snaps on field goals and extra points which have seen first year starter Nick Smith go 7 for 7 on field goals and 23 for 23 on extra points. Tyler Williams has punted for an average of 45 yards per game, and Amoreto Curraj has seen 23 of his 35 kickoffs land in the endzone for no return. DeAndre Reaves has returned a kickoff for a touchdown which helped turn the tide at Kent State in a double overtime victory.
Best Play of the Season – The best play of the season had to be a play that didn’t even count. Reaves kickoff return for a touchdown late in the game against Ohio University that was called back for multiple penalties.
Best Defensive Player – Evan McKelvey who is one of the top tacklers in the nation. He currently has 70 total tackles, 6 pass break ups, 1 fumble recovery and 1 forced fumble.
Best Offensive Player – Still to be determined. If I had to pick someone it would be Ryan Yurachek, who seems to be the only player who is playing at or similar to the same level as last season. He currently leads the Herd in receptions with 23, touchdowns with 4, and second in receiving yards with 220.
Biggest Overachiever – Tony Pittman with 288 yards and 3 touchdowns on the year. He stepped up huge with 100 yard games on the road at Kent State and at home against Old Dominion. He has since been injured. But stepping in in place of the injured Devon Johnson and Remi Watson could have saved the early part of the season.
Biggest Underachiever (s) – Thus far it has to be the wide receivers. The entire group. Numbers do not need to be provided to show why this is the case.
Biggest Overachiever – Without a doubt, it has to be Ryan Bee. Bee, a converted offensive lineman who is now a defensive end saw very little action until the past two games. In that time frame he has amassed 20 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 pass break up, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 very important blocked kick. Bee is that one player that Marshall has not had in years, and Marshall has seen other CUSA players have year in and year out.
Those Who Have Let the Team down the most – Both sets of initials are easy. AJL squared. Huge losses of talent.
Where in the Heck are ya? – Hyleck Foster. Come on man. Time to shake the funk and become a playmaker again.
Glad to have ya back son – Shawn Petty. The transfer linebacker from Maryland arrived on campus last year and posed problem after problem for the first team units last year while a member of the scout team. He missed the first four games of the year due to injury, and arrived back on the seen in a big time way two games ago. Since that time he has 13 tackles, 2 pass break ups, 1 tackle for loss and one forced fumble.
Have you ever seen a fan base more disappointed in a 5 – 1 start with a new quarterback, coming off the loss of a bunch of offensive playmakers? – No
Marshall ends the season with a road game at FAU today, then homecoming against North Texas, followed by road games at Charlotte and Middle Tennessee, then a home game against FIU, before finishing the year with an off week and a road game at Western Kentucky.
Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com for further updates and stories.