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Schedule and Odds
2012 was quite the anomaly for the Thundering Herd. They were a Top 10 scoring offense led by Rakeem Cato who averaged the most passing yards per game in the nation. The reason for their 5-7 record was that they had one of the worst defenses in the country allowing more than 40 points per game. If they can turn their defense around just a little bit, a bowl game is in sight.
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With Cato back under center, there's no reason why Marshall can't be a top offense once again. Granted, it's going to be hard for Cato to match 4,201 yards and 37 touchdowns, but he should still post great numbers. WR Tommy Shuler returns in the slot, but both outside receivers are gone which may prove to be a problem. They have a few options to step in like senior Demetrius Evans (32 receptions), but nothing exactly guaranteed. The good news is that leading TD receiver, tight end Gator Hoskins, is returning along with four offensive linemen. Kevin Grooms (C-USA Freshman of the Year) returns in the backfield along with plenty of help.
The defense made plenty of changes in the offseason, bringing in new coordinator Chuck Heater from Temple. He's implementing a nickel package as the team's base defense. Only four starters return, yet according to head coach Doc Holliday, the talent level has increased. Jeremiah Taylor and Alex Bazzie will need to get to the QB on the ends while D.J. Hunter has to make the same impact at safety this year. Hunter was an All-American at outside linebacker last season.
2013 Marshall Football Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. Miami (OH)
Sept. 7 vs. Gardner-Webb
Sept. 14 at Ohio
Sept. 21 at Virginia Tech
Oct. 5 vs. UTSA
Oct. 12 at Florida Atlantic
Oct. 24 at Middle Tennessee
Nov. 2 vs. Southern Miss
Nov. 9 vs. UAB
Nov. 14 at Tulsa
Nov. 23 at Florida International
Nov. 29 vs. East Carolina
Marshall has an easier non-conference schedule from year's past, but it's not anything too easy. Back-to-back road games at Ohio and Virginia Tech finish out September for them. The good news for the Thundering Herd is that they start the C-USA campaign with two of the worst teams in the conference and then get a 12-day break until they travel to Middle Tennessee. The game against the Blue Raiders will be big in the standings for the East division.
After a couple more favorable matchups, Marshall faces Tulsa and East Carolina in two of their last three games. To make matters worse, they'll have to travel to Tulsa five days after playing UAB. Finishing up the season at home with East Carolina could decide the East if everything goes to plan.
As long as the Thundering Herd can improve a little bit on the defensive end, a bowl game is likely with Cato leading the offense. If that does happen, seven or eight wins could be in Marshall's future. Although that may be asking for a lot as Holliday has yet to pass the seven-win mark in his time here, including bowl wins.
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