Marshall College Football Preview

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After a 10-win season, things unraveled quickly for Marshall, falling to 3-9 in 2016. And with only 12 returning starters, Doc Holliday has lots of work to do if he wants to get his team back to a bowl Game. The Thundering Herd return their starting quarterback, but that may not be enough to reach six wins.

Quarterback Chase Litton produced almost identical numbers (24 TDs, 9 INTs) as to the previous season, but that didn’t matter for an offense that managed 26.4 points per Game. In Litton’s third season under center, it won’t be easy for him to improve yet again. The line has just two starters back, which could be the biggest problem for the offense that gained 3.3 yards per carry a year ago (sacks included). Keion Davis should once again start in the backfield (469 yards, 6 TDs), although Trey Rodriguez could find some time after he was dismissed by FAU. The most intriguing unit for Marshall is at receiver where all of its top guys are gone, yet that may be a good thing. Miami transfer Tyre Brady expects to come in and have a big role alongside Willie Johnson and top tight end Ryan Yurachek.

The defensive falloff still has to be dealt with after this group gave up 35.3 points per Game last season. At the least, there is plenty to work with due to seven returning starters and most of the others having some kind of experience. The line was gashed in every Game last year so that will be a place Ryan Bee and Nyquan Harris have to step up in the middle. Linebacker is a bit of an unknown, although highly-touted Jaquan Yulee could change that after missing last year. The secondary returns all of its starters with C.J. Reavis possibly the most important piece as he’s dealt with injuries the past few years.

The Herd fell apart last season and it’s going to take some work to get back to a winning record. The Schedule is manageable, but early non-Conference road Games at NC State and Cincy will be tough. Even the home Games against MAC competition won’t be easy. Their Conference USA Schedule is also far from kind with Games against the West’s UTSA and Southern Miss ending the regular season. Before that, Marshall has to travel to Middle Tennessee and host WKU.

Reaching six wins will be difficult for this team given the Schedule and if the offense can’t improve behind an iffy line, Four or five wins will be the cards (over/under at 5). The Thundering Herd have +1200 odds (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) to win the conference, which seem a bit low, although that still places them at fifth in the East division. ACCording to the odds, not much separates the bottom of the division from each other with ODU, FAU, Marshall and FIU all having similar numbers.


2017 Marshall Thundering Herd Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Miami (OH)
Sept. 9 at NC State
Sept. 16 vs. Kent State
Sept. 30 at Cincinnati
Oct. 7 at Charlotte
Oct. 14 vs. Old Dominion
Oct. 20 at Middle Tennessee
Oct. 28 vs. Florida International
Nov. 3 at Florida Atlantic
Nov. 11 vs. Western Kentucky
Nov. 18 at UTSA
Nov. 25 vs. Southern Miss

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