Pre-Season Peeks: Game 5-Ohio; Game 6-Kent St.

Marshall will see as much of the Buckeye State this year as many residents of the great state of Ohio. Already having been to Columbus, October begins with a 90-mile trek to Athens for the annual "Battle for the Bell" with the Ohio University Bobcats, followed by a trip to play the Golden Flashes of Kent State. The Herd will revisit NE Ohio in November at Akron and see NW Ohio at Bowling Green State University. Let's make a stop in "Amish Country" and see about games five and six for the Herd.

Game Five: Ohio University-October 9, Athens, OH; Time – TBA (OSN) Nickname: Bobcats
Colors: Hunter Green and White
Conference: Mid-American*
Last (at MU 11/28/03): MU-28 Ohio-0
All-Time Series: Ohio leads 29-16-6; MU won last three in row
2003 Record: 2-10/1-7 MAC
Head Coach: Brian Knorr (7-28, 3 years); former OU Defensive Coordinator; 0-3 vs. Marshall
Defensive Watch List (8 starters returning):
Sr. LB Dennis Chukwuemeka, 5-11, 239; In 2003, the former Huntington High product had 100 tackles, 6 tackles-for-loss, 3 passes-broken-up and 2 interceptions before ACL in 10th game; 116 tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss in 2002; originally signed with Fairmont State University of West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (D-II) before transferring to Ohio and sitting out 2001. Father, also Dennis, tried out for MU football and played soccer for Herd on first Marshall soccer team in late 1970's.
Sr. SS Rob Stover, 6-0, 201; Ohio State transfer who was second on team in tackles with 92 last year, with 10 tackles-for-loss, 6 passes-broken-up and 4 sacks; In 2002, he recorded 58 tackles and 10 tackles-for-loss; Bobcats switching to passing offense should improve secondary play as practice will include more routes run and balls in air.
Offensive Watch List (10 starters returning):
Sr. QB Ryan Hawk, 6-2, 200; last year had 100 attempts and 49 completions for 765 yards, with 4 TD and 3 interceptions; transfer from Miami, Ohio; only four starts, as suffered from elbow and shoulder injuries; will be pushed by sophomore Austen Everson, who rushed for 130 yards versus UCF and hit 4-for-4 passes for 4 touchdowns Sr. RB Ray Huston, 6-2, 215; leading returning rusher for ‘Cats, with 87 carries for 319 yards (only 3.7 yards per carry); had 4 touchdowns, tied for second on team; rushed for only 109 yards as sophomore
Stadium: Peden Stadium (seats-24,000; surface-artificial FieldTurf)
2004 Schedule: 9/4 VMI (DI-AA); 9/11 @ Pitt; 9/18 @ Miami*; 9/25 Buffalo*; 10/2 @ Kentucky; 10/9 Marshall*; 10/16 @ Toledo*; 10/23 Bowling Green* (HC); 11/6 @ UCF*; 11/13 Akron*
Of Note: Ohio plays at Toledo and then gets Bowling Green at home, catching both the West Division champs in BGSU and pre-season West favorite in UT plus Miami on road; Phil Earley, hired from Nevada as Ohio offensive coordinator, is shaking up things with a more balanced off attack than the wishbone of past years (spring game-230 passing, 111 rushing); Ohio averaged 154.2 yards passing per game last year; Ohio has had only 2 winning seasons since 1982, with Jim Grobe posting a 7-4 mark in 2000 before going to Wake Forest; Bobcats only 2-17 on road under Brian Knorr (5-11 at Peden Stadium), who may be on hot seat with another poor season

Game Six: Kent State University-October 16, Kent, OH; 4:00 p.m. (THN WSAZ TV-3)
Nickname: Golden Flashes
Colors: Navy Blue and Gold
Conference: Mid-American*
Last (at MU 10/11/03): MU-49 Kent State-33
All-time Series: Kent State 18-16-0; MU has won 7 in a row, back to 1980
2003 Record: 5-7/4-4
Head Coach: Doug Martin (first season; Kent State Offensive Coordinator in 2003)
Defensive Watch List (10 starters return):
Sr. LB Eric Mahl, 6-2, 245; leading tackler last season with 126 stops and 10 tackles-for-loss; honorable mention All-MAC; 60 tackles in 2002 before injury
Sr. FS Shannon Davis, 6-0, 195; third on team in tackles last year with 98, plus 6 passes-broken-up, 2 interceptions and a sack; started for three straight years, with 281 tackles; predicted to lead one of the "most improved secondary in nation" by one pre-season magazine
Offensive Watch List (8 starters return):
Sr. QB Joshua Cribbs, 6-1, 200; in three seasons as starter, Cribbs has thrown for 4,954 yards and completed 51 percent of his passes; 28 touchdowns and 28 interceptions in career; Cribbs has also rushed for 3,173 yards; rushed and passed for 1,000 in each of his first 2 seasons, only 1 of 2 QBs in NCAA history to; last season, Cribbs threw 364-178-9, for 2,424 yards, 15 TD and 49 percent completions while rushing for 701 yards (4.4 ypc)
Sr. WR Darrell Dowery, 6-0, 170; leading receiver last season with 41 catches for 783 yards (19.1 ypc) and 4 touchdowns; had 34 receptions in 2002, averaging 10.2 yards per catch
Stadium: Dix Stadium (seats-29,287; surface-artificial turf)
2004 Schedule: 9/4 @ Iowa; 9/11 Liberty (DI-AA); 9/18 @ Rutgers; 9/23 Akron* (Thursday); 10/2 @ CMU*; 10/9 @ Miami*; 10/16 Marshall* (HC); 10/30 Ohio*; 11/6 @ Buffalo; 11/13 EMU*; 11/23 @ UCF* (Tuesday)
Of Note: Martin is one of five new coaches in MAC, tying most ever in one year in MAC (first time was in 1978); he coached against MU as offensive coordinator at East Carolina in 2002 GMAC Bowl and from 1988-91 as OC at ETSU (1-3 vs. Herd); former head coach Dean Pees left Kent State to take assistant position with NFL Super Bowl champs, the New England Patriots; Cribbs' pled guilty to possession of controlled substance this summer, will sit out opener at Iowa; Kent has had only 2 winning seasons since 1977, including 6-5 in 2001, although the Flashes have had 14 wins over the last three years after 14 wins in the previous decade (1990-2000)

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