Scouting the Opponent: Marshall

SMU has an all-important game versus the Marshall Thundering Herd this weekend in Dallas. Last year, the Herd defeated the Mustangs by three points at Marshall and now SMU needs to return the favor, in order to remain in first place in Conference-USA West. Get the facts that you need to know about Marshall right here.

Most football teams are fighting a rash of injuries by the time November rolls around, and the Marshall Thundering Herd is no exception to the rule.

Nevertheless, the Herd (4-6, 3-3 C-USA East) is riding a three-game winning streak after victories over Memphis, UAB, and UTEP, and perhaps the most impressive fact is that Marshall has started 11 freshman - six of them true frosh - throughout the course of the season.

In last week's 28-13 victory over Memphis, redshirt freshman Essray Taliaferro led the team in rushing (66 yards on 12 carries). That marked the third consecutive week that a non-scholarship freshman led the team in rushing.

Running backs Tron Martinez and Andre Booker were held out of the Memphis game, although their status is unknown for this Saturday. Two of the three starting WRs entering the season - sophomore Antavious Wilson and senior Chuck Walker - also sat out vs. Memphis.

Wilson is done for the year after suffering a knee injury, while Walker is another question mark for the SMU game. Marshall head coach John "Doc" Holliday, a former West Virginia assistant head coach in his first-year on the job with the Herd, prefers to keep injury reports close to the vest.

Junior WR Troy Evans had an afternoon to remember last week, totaling 220 all-purpose yards and that doesn't include a kickoff return for a TD that was called back due to a penalty. Evans caught 3 passes for 81 yards and a score.

6-foot-3, 212-pound senior quarterback Brian Anderson was sharp with his throws vs. the Tigers, connecting on 20-of-28 attempts for 251 yards with three TDs (and 1 INT). Martin has been erratic at times, tossing four interceptions in a 44-28 loss to Bowling Green and three in a 37-10 setback to East Carolina.

For the year, Anderson is 185-for-319 through the air for 1,919 yards and 17 TDs (with 11 picks.) In 2009, he threw for 2,646 yards. According to reports, his offensive line has only give up four sacks, which is an amazing stat, if accurate.

The Thundering Herd is ranked No. 110 in the nation when it comes to running the football. The top ground-gainer, sophomore Martin Ward, has only managed 341 yards on 93 carries. In addition, the Herd is No. 104 in points scored (19.5).

Aaron Dobson (38-632, 5 touchdowns) has the most receptions on the team.

The top defender is compact (6-0, 250) linebacker Mario "Thumper" Harvey, who is a Butkus Award semifinalist. Last year, Harvey rang up 117 tackles and was a first-team All C-USA selection.


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