Report Card Time

It is time for Midseason grades for the Marshall Thundering Herd

All across Cabell County today, students brought home their nine week report cards.  Today Herdhaven.com will take a look at Marshall’s mid season grades today and what they have to look forward two in the second part of the semester, as well as next season. 

 

Many think the grades should be pretty poor, given the 2 – 4 record to start the season (1 – 1 in CUSA.)  However, that may not exactly be the case when looking at the body of work.

 

Each grade will be based on the games against other FBS schools, with an additional consideration given to the Morgan State game.

 

Rushing Offense – C-

Marshall’s raw rushing numbers look terrible at first glance.  The Herd is averaging just 117 yards per game on the ground, at 3.2 yards per carry.  Those numbers are not very good?  But they do not tell the entire story.  As was the case when Rakeem Cato roamed Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Marshall’s running attack is not always traditional.  Several times on the “read option” it is not meant for the quarterback to keep the ball.  More often than not, the second option on the read option is a quick pass out to a slot receiver or tight end.  That was noticeable last week when the tight ends and slot receivers had huge games.

Marshall was able to rush for more yards than their opponents average yards given up on the ground in just 2 of the 5 FBS games.  In those five games, Marshall rushed for a total of minus 336 yards less than the average yards given up as a whole. 

 The initial grade was a solid C, the Morgan State game, at just 5.4 yards per rush, drops the grade to a C-.

                Leading Rushers

                                Keion Davis – 327 yards

                                Hyleck Foster – 187 yards

                                Tony Pittman – 143 yards

 

Passing Offense – B+, the Morgan State Game bumps it to an A

Simply put, the passing game cannot be criticized.  When a true sophomore quarterback, battling an injury is able to have his team 34th in the country in passing yards, which includes a total of 59 yards with a true freshman back up playing against Louisville, then it is hard to find fault.  Chase Litton is the 13th best quarterback in the nation in regards to passing yards per game at 310 yards. 

 

Marshall was able to pass for more yards than their opponents were giving up in 3 of the 5 games, and in 3 of the 4 in which Litton played.  The only game he came up short was on the road at Pittsburgh when he threw for 240 yards, and Pitt is now averaging giving up 298 yards per game.  Still Litton threw two second half touchdowns and led Marshall back from a 27 point deficit to within 3 points late in the game.  Marshall has passed for a total of 101 more yards than their opponents give up.

 

Leading Passer:

                Chase Litton – 112 for 186 for 1,550 yards, 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.

 

Leading Receivers:

                Josh Knight 25 catches for 325 yards and 4 TD’s

Michael Clark – 22 catches for 431 yards and 4 TD’s, 21st in the country in average yards per catch at 19.67

Ryan Yurachek – 17 catches for 214 yards and 3 touchdowns

Emmanuel Byrd – 19 catches for 159 yards and 1 TD

Deontay McManus – 12 catches for 166 yards and 2 TD’s

 

Overall Offensive Grade – C, the Morgan State game bumps it to a B-

 

Marshall averages 33.8 points per game, good for 43nd in the country.  The Herd scored more points than their opponents averaged giving up in 2 of their 5 games.  They have scored 13.7 points less than the average, as a whole, or 2.74 points per game.

 

Players who need to step up in the second half:

                Deontay McManus

                Any Running Back

                Donquell Green

 

Surprise Players thus far:

                Josh Knight

                Michael Clark

                Levi Brown

 

Players who will be here to help next season:

Tyre Brady – Highly regarded transfer wide receiver from Miami of Florida, who dominated at times during summer practice.

Tyler King and JaQua Daniels – The running back position is ripe for the taking, can one of these two 2016 non qualifiers step in and take over?

 

 

Defensive Grades

 

Rushing Defense – D

Marshall has not gotten the job done on the defensive side of the football when it comes to the opponents ability to run the football.  The Herd gave up more yards rushing than the opponents average per game in four of the five games, totaling 234 yards, or an average of 46.8  more yards per game.  The final two opponents, North Texas, and Florida Atlantic rushed for more than 100 yards more than their season average.  The only  opponent to rush for less than their season average was Louisville.

 

Passing Defense – C

The grade started off as a solid F the first part of the season.  The past few weeks the passing defense has improved somewhat.  The season started with Akron and Louisville passing for an average of over 100 yards more in each game than what their season average is.  Since that point, Marshall has improved in each game.  Pitt threw for 280 yards, North Texas for 206 yards, and Florida Atlantic just 175 yards.  For the season Marshall gave up more passing yards than what their opponents averaged in all but one game, the most recent game against FAU.  Opponents are averaging 59 more yards per game on average against the Marshall defense, but  that dropped to just 26.67 yards the past three games.

 

Overall Defense – D+, with a Morgan State bump to a C-

 

Marshall opponents have scored more than they average for the season in every game.  Their opponents score an average of 9.6 more points per game than their season average. 

 

Season Leaders:

Tackles:

Chase Hancock – 44 tackles

CJ Reavis – 42 tackles

Rodney Allen – 40 tackles

Ryan Bee – 30 tackles

Davon Durant – 30 tackles

 

Sacks:

Ryan Bee – 4 sacks

Gary Thompson – 3.5 sacks

 

Players who need to step up the remainder of the season:

Chris Jackson – Jackson started off slow, and has played well the past two games

Davon Durant – Needs to continue to show why he came in so highly touted, limited playing time early, but he is still one of the team’s leading tacklers

Omari Cobb – Cobb has come in at outside linebacker and has played a big roll the past two weeks.  He seems to have replaced Damion Dozier.

 

Players coming in next season:

Juwon Young – Young is another Miami of Florida transfer

JaQuan Yulee- Former Alabama commit on campus as a non qualifier

Kereon Merrell – Marshall hopes to snag the very talented JUCO corner.

 

Other Grades:

Coaching – C+

                The staff has handled multiple departures, most notably at the defensive back position, as well as injuries across the offensive line.  They have gotten the team back on track, including an excellent turnaround this past weekend against Florida Atlantic. 

Special Teams – C

                The punting to Kaare Vedvik has been excellent and kick coverage on punts and kickoffs have been excellent.  Add in a blocked punt, and a kick return for a touchdown, and two consecutive field goals and this grade has overcome early issues.

 

Marshall looks to improve on these grades in the coming weeks as they play three straight huge set up games leading into a home game versus Middle Tennessee State.  The Herd hosts Charlotte this week, before going to both Southern Miss and Old Dominion.

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Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com for further coverage and updates.


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