Numberosity — Florida Atlantic Week

October 24, 2014 by Derek Redd

This blog post is rated “I” for “I don’t have anything clever for this.”

30.7 — Margin of victory for Marshall in its first seven games this season.

1 — Margin of victory in Marshall’s win last season at Florida Atlantic.

10 — Points Marshall had to score in the final 10 minutes to win that game.

21 — How many points from which FAU came back to beat Western Kentucky last week.

Here are some numbers not working in FAU’s favor this weekend …

10 — FAU’s C-USA ranking in scoring defense at 35.7 points per game. Marshall scores a conference-best 47.4 points per game.

10 — FAU’s C-USA ranking in scoring offense at 24.6 points per game. Marshall allows a conference-low 16.6 points per game.

Now here’s something interesting …

13 — Marshall’s rank out of 13 C-USA teams in penalty yards at 90 per game. Middle Tennessee is next-closest at 69.1. That’s a lot of flags.

1 — Marshall’s rank out of 13 C-USA teams in opponents’ penalty yards per game at 73.1. That’s a lot of flags, too. Huh.

133 — Rushing yards per game for Herd running back Devon Johnson, tops in the conference and ninth in the FBS.

1 — Appendage of Johnson’s that has its own Twitter account. That would be RockHead’s Stiff Arm at @47sStiffArm.

9 — Marshall’s FBS rank in rushing offense at 284.7 yards per game.

1 — Touchdown run by Stew Butler against FIU.

4 — Games since he had scored. He ran for a touchdown when he ran for two against Rhode Island.

4 — Marshall players averaging at least six yards per carry — Johnson (8.2), Butler (7.0), Remi Watson (6.4) and Rakeem Cato (6.0).

And finally …

100 — percent improvement in press-box quality between FIU’s last week and Marshall’s this week. Because being able to see the game usually is key to reporting on it.

 

Bowl Projection Roundup, Round 5

October 23, 2014 by Derek Redd

Here’s the lineup for this week …

Jerry Palm (CBSSports.com) — Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Iowa; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Fiesta Bowl

Brett McMurphy (ESPN.com) — Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Rutgers; Go5 Pick — Alabama vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Mark Schlabach (ESPN.com) — Bahamas Bowl vs. Northern Illinois; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Phil Steele — Fiesta Bowl vs. Notre Dame

USA Today — Hawaii Bowl vs. Nevada; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Jason Kirk (SBNation) — Bahamas Bowl vs. Northern Illinois; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Mike Huguenin (NFL.com) — Peach Bowl vs. Ole Miss

College Football News — New Mexico Bowl vs. Utah State; Go5 Pick — East Carolina vs. Michigan State in  Fiesta Bowl

Bill Bender (SportingNews.com) — Peach Bowl vs. Ole Miss

The Heart of Dallas Bowl got another voter this week. McMurphy now thinks Marshall will play Rutgers in the Cotton Bowl. Anything that gets me one step closer to all the Zaxby’s sauce I desire is aces in my book. The prevailing notion is the Go5 choice will go to either the Peach or Fiesta Bowl. A couple of Bahamas Bowl predictions remain out there, but I can’t believe that Conference USA would let one of its best teams since its inception out of the country.

AP Voter Roundup, Week 9

October 23, 2014 by Derek Redd

Listing each week’s poll voter by voter has gotten a bit cumbersome since the Herd made it into the AP top 25. So, now we’ll just drop a link here to the folks who do yeoman’s work at Collegepolltracker.com, which analyzes and sorts each team in the poll.

But while we’re here, let’s look at some of the more intriguing points to this week’s poll, comparing Marshall with the only other Go5 team in the Top 25, East Carolina, and neighbor to the north, West Virginia.

Overall record

Marshall: 7-0

East Carolina: 5-1

WVU: 5-2

Ranking this week

Marshall: 23rd

East Carolina: 18th

WVU: 22nd

Highest ranking

Marshall: 15th (Michael Lev, Orange County Register)

East Carolina: 13th (Jim Polzin, Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, Wisc.)

WVU: 13th (Grant Ramey, Maryville (Tenn.) Daily Times; Josh Kendall, The State, Columbia, S.C.; Scott Wolf, Los Angeles Daily News)

Where voters ranked them most

Marshall: 22nd (11 voters)

East Carolina: 18th (15 voters)

WVU: 23rd (10 voters)

Voters who left team off their ballots

Marshall: 16

East Carolina: 2

WVU: 8

That last number there is the biggest reason why the Herd sits where it does in the polls.

Conference USA in Review, Week 8

October 21, 2014 by Derek Redd

This week’s non-conference record: 0-0

Overall non-conference record: 23-25

This week’s non-conference record vs. FBS teams: 0-0

Overall non-conference record vs. FBS teams: 16-23

This week’s record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-0

Overall record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-20

C-USA in the Polls: AP — Marshall (23) ; Coaches — Marshall (22)

Trending Up

Devon Johnson — If the Marshall running back keeps trending up like this, he’ll be in the ionosphere. He coupled 117 rushing yards on nine carries with 79 receiving yards on three catches, two of them for touchdowns. He’s ninth in the FBS in rushing yards and, if he keeps up with his average, should eclipse the 1,000-yard mark this weekend.

Rakeem Cato — His 214 passing yards don’t jump off the page, but the Marshall quarterback threw four touchdown passes against an FIU team that had allowed just five entering Saturday’s game. Plus the first one broke the major college record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass with his 39th. Not a bad visit home.

Trending Down

C-USA — The conference has three teams over .500, tied with the  Sun Belt for fewest for an FBS conference. There are just two teams at least two games over .500, Marshall and Middle Tennessee, and Marshall beat Middle Tennessee by 25. The only other above-.500 team, Louisiana Tech, has a loss to FCS Northwestern State on its docket. And the Bulldogs are in the lead for the West Division championship. Chances are every team except Marshall will devour themselves, leaving everyone hovering at or near .500 and the Herd sprinting away in the distance. Of all the seasons Marshall was unable to play a Power 5 team, this might be the worst. A loss to any of these teams would destroy the Herd’s dreams of a marquee bowl spot.

Redd’s C-USA Title Game Prediction He’s Guaranteed to Get Wrong — Louisiana Tech at Marshall

 

Gameday, Part VII — I thought I heard something about a record …

October 18, 2014 by Derek Redd

We’re here in the corner of FIU Stadium gearing up for tonight’s tilt between the Panthers and visiting Thundering Herd. There’s a good chance that there could be more Marshall fans than there will be FIU fans tonight, considering the amount of South Floridians on the roster. Rakeem Cato’s family likely will be here in full force, as he tries to break the major college record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Today would be his 39th and would break his tie with current Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.

Here are some folks that won’t be here today, as they weren’t on the travel roster: OL Blake Brooks (leg), DE Gary Thompson (leg), LB Evan McKelvey (knee, out for season) and RB Brandon Byrd. Tony Pittman is here today. Also, safety Tiquan Lang will wear No. 31 in honor of McKelvey today.

The only way I see this stays close is if FIU’s defense keeps up its pace in sacks and turnovers, or if too many flags fly in Marshall’s direction. Those haven’t been kind to MU lately, though it hasn’t hurt … yet.

That’s it for now. Why not stick around right here and hang out with my live in-game feed, where you can see all of my (ahem) “brilliant” analysis. (And pay no attention to the face on the top of that feed. You all know I’m much more good looking.) (Hi, boss!)

Otherwise …

Happy Let’s Watch Cato Go for a National Record Day, y’all.

Live Blog Marshall vs. FIU

Bowl Projection Roundup, Round 4

October 16, 2014 by Derek Redd

Here’s where the experts put the Herd this bowl season …

Jerry Palm (CBSSports.com) — Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Iowa; Go5 Pick — Oklahoma vs. East Carolina in Fiesta Bowl

Brett McMurphy (ESPN.com) — Boca Raton Bowl vs. Central Michigan; Go5 Pick — TCU vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Mark Schlabach (ESPN.com) — Bahamas Bowl vs. Northern Illinois; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Phil Steele — Fiesta Bowl vs. Notre Dame

USA Today — Hawaii Bowl vs. Nevada; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Jason Kirk (SBNation) — Bahamas Bowl vs. Toledo; Go5 Pick — Georgia vs. East Carolina in Peach Bowl

Mike Huguenin (NFL.com) — Peach Bowl vs. Ole Miss

College Football News — New Mexico Bowl vs. Utah State; Go5 Pick — East Carolina vs. Auburn in  Fiesta Bowl

Bill Bender (SportingNews.com) — Peach Bowl vs. Georgia

The Herd lost one expert in the Go5 pick crowd. College Football News now has Marshall headed out to Albuquerque. When USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton was healthy, I told folks that Cato vs. Keeton game could be the most-watched minor bowl of the season. With Keeton hurt, the luster is pretty much gone.

AP Voter Roundup, Week 8

October 16, 2014 by Derek Redd

The Herd finally cracked the top 25 this week. What was the before picture? Check out last week’s lineup below:

Chris Murray, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal — 21st

Donald Heath, Savannah Morning News — 18th

Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press — 20th

Adam Sparks, Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) — 22nd

John Silver, Manchester (Conn.) Journal Inquirer — 19th

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News — 24th

Chuck McGill, Charleston Daily Mail — 19th

Doug Doughty, Roanoke (Va.) Times — 24th

Ed Johnson, Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal — 18th

Ed Johnson, Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal — 22nd

Michael Lev, Orange County Register Lev — 18th

Logan Lowery, NE Miss. Daily Journal —18th

Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com — 22nd

Sam Werner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — 24th

Steve Sipple, Lincoln (Neb.) Journal— 24th

Bill Rabinowitz, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch — 25th

Brett McMurphy, ESPN — 25th

Garland Gillen, WVUE-TV FOX 8, New Orleans — 25th

John Shinn, Norman (Okla.) Transcript — 25th

Pete DiPrimio Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel — 25th

And now for the crew that got Marshall back into the rankings for the first time since the 2002 season:

Chris Murray, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal — 20th

Donald Heath, Savannah Morning News — 18th

Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press — 19th

Adam Sparks, Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) — 17th

John Silver, Manchester (Conn.) Journal Inquirer — 19th

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News — 25th

Chuck McGill, Charleston Daily Mail — 18th

Doug Doughty, Roanoke (Va.) Times — 19th

Ed Johnson, Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal — 18th

Michael Lev, Orange County Register Lev — 17th

Logan Lowery, NE Miss. Daily Journal —17th

Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com — 20th

Sam Werner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — 21st

Steve Sipple, Lincoln (Neb.) Journal— 24th

Bill Rabinowitz, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch — 23rd

Brett McMurphy, ESPN — 23rd

Garland Gillen, WVUE-TV FOX 8, New Orleans — 21st

John Shinn, Norman (Okla.) Transcript — 25th

Pete DiPrimio Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel — 24th

Bob Asmussen, Champaign (Ill.) News-Gazette — 20th

Tom Murphy, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock, Ark.) — 20th

Steve Batterson, Quad City Times — 21st

Adam Jude, Seattle Times — 22nd

Iliana Limon Romero, Orlando Sentinel — 22nd

Nick Baumgardner, MLive.com — 22nd

Gary Horowitz, Statesman Journal — 24th

Mike Sorensen, Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah) — 24th

Daniel Berk, Arizona Daily Star (Tuscson, Ariz.) — 25th

Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram — 25th

Kellis Robinett, Wichita (Kan.) Eagle — 25th

Ken Medlin, WRAL-TV (Raleigh, N.C.) — 25th

Rob Long, WJFK (Washington, D.C.) — 25th

Robert Cessna, Bryan-College Station (Texas) Eagle — 25th

Ross Dellenger, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.) — 25th

Scott Nulph, Laramie Boomerang — 25th

Tim Griffin, San Antonio (Texas) Express-News — 25th

Plenty of new voters this week, a number that should only rise as long as Marshall keeps winning.

Conference USA in Review, Week 7

October 13, 2014 by Derek Redd

This week’s non-conference record: 1-0

Overall non-conference record: 23-25

This week’s non-conference record vs. FBS teams: 1-0

Overall non-conference record vs. FBS teams: 16-23

This week’s record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-0

Overall record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-20

C-USA in the Polls: AP — Marshall (25) ; Coaches — Marshall (24)

Trending Up

Craig Wilkins and Deon-Tay McManus — One is a senior who had transitioned from starter to backup. The other is a freshman who was a backup tight end a month ago. The duo has given the Herd deep threats it sorely needed now that Angelo Jean-Louis and Davonte Allen both are injured (more on that below). McManus caught passes of 39 and 29 yards, the 29-yarder for a touchdown, in beating Middle Tennessee. Wilkins caught a pair of touchdowns among his five receptions for 77 yards. With the return dates for Allen and Jean-Louis unknown, Marshall needs Wilkins and McManus to keep it up.

UAB defense — The Blazers forced five turnovers, scoring on three of them, to beat North Texas, 56-21. In jumping to a 28-0 lead, UAB got its first two scores on a fumble return and an interception return for a touchdown.

Trending Down

Marshall’s injury woes — Jean-Louis left the Middle Tennessee game with a rib injury. OL Blake Brooks played one down in that game and had to be helped off the field with a leg injury. The Herd already was without Allen (upper body) and LB Evan McKelvey (knee) and has lost McKelvey for the season. That Marshall still won Saturday’s game by 25 is a testament to its depth, but how many more injuries can the Herd withstand?

FIU offense — When you can’t outscore one of the worst offenses in college football — UTSA’s is 112th in scoring — you know it’s a bad day. The Panthers mustered just 259 yards of total offense and averaged just 2.5 yards per carry. Not the numbers you want to see when Marshall’s defense is coming to town Saturday.

Middle Tennessee’s trash talking acumen — Apparently there were some grenades lobbed from Murfreesboro, Tenn., in the days preceding the Marshall game. The jawing continued into pregame warmups and the game itself.  Here’s how well it worked: Marshall led that game by as many as 32, despite having 101 yards in penalties, 30 of those coming on taunting flags.

Redd’s C-USA Title Game Prediction He’s Guaranteed to Get Wrong: Louisiana Tech at Marshall

Gameday, Part VI — This time, it’s personal

October 11, 2014 by Derek Redd

Don’t just take my word for it. Take it from the guy tearing up the CFL.

Methinks a few folks are still sore over last season’s 51-49 Middle Tennessee win, where the Blue Raiders scored the winning touchdown with no time left on the clock.

Let’s talk injuries. WR Davonte Allen was seen leaning against the wall behind the end zone and not in uniform. Scratch him from today. Ditto for DE Gary Thompson, who was wearing an Erector set on his leg. You can count LB Evan McKelvey out for the season with a right knee injury. That’s a shame, considering he missed most of 2012 with a torn left ACL. D.J. Hunter will wear McKelvey’s No. 31 in his honor. Blake Brooks was in uniform warming up in the end zone, but that doesn’t mean he’ll go (I think Sebastian Johansson spent at least one game in uniform as a casual observer).

(And let me take this time once again to say Conference USA needs uniform injury reports from all coaches. Playing guessing games and piecemealing this stuff together is tiresome and unnecessary. It’s simple: If they’re out for the season, it’s announced on Monday. Everyone else is put on a list Thursday for Saturday games and Wednesday for Thursday games. It worked in the ACC when I covered Florida State, and it would work just fine here.)

Marshall players seemed pretty excited for today’s game, hoping that Middle might be the first team they’ve played in a while that’s been able to take a punch. T.T. Barber told me earlier this week that the MT defense’s mission was to “play violent,” so, as the great wrestling announcer Jim Ross would say, we could be in for a slobberknocker.

That should be it from here. You can now follow me during the game in one of two ways. As always, I’m in the Twitter-verse. But, if you don’t want to sift through the rest of your timeline, you can get all the tweets from both me and Daily Mail sports editor Chuck McGill below. Otherwise …

Live Blog Marshall vs. Middle Tennessee, battle of unbeatens

Happy Homecoming Game Day, y’all.

Numberosity — Middle Tennessee Week

October 10, 2014 by Derek Redd

This blog post is rated “R” for “Run, run, run.”

Might be some of that goin’ on this week …

299.6 — Marshall’s rushing yards per game, best in C-USA and ninth-best in the FBS.

224.7 — Middle Tennessee’s rushing yards per game, second in C-USA and 25th in the FBS.

239 — Yards MT rushed for in a 37-31 win over Southern Miss last week.

354 — Yards Marshall rushed for in a 56-14 win over Old Dominion last week.

1,033 — Yards gained between both teams in last season’s MT-Marshall clash.

100 — Points scored between both teams, a 51-49 Blue Raiders win.

0 — Seconds left in the game when MT quarterback Logan Kilgore found Tavarres Jefferson for the game-winning touchdown.

0 — Percent chance of that happening this season, because Kilgore and Jefferson both have graduated.

258.5 — Passing yards per game of MT’s new quarterback Austin Grammer.

43.7 — Grammer’s rushing yards per game, third-best on the team. He also has five touchdown runs.

85 — Passing yards Marshall gave up to ODU quarterback Taylor Heinicke, the active leader in Division I career passing yards, with more than 13,000. It was the first time he threw for less than 100 yards in a college game.

15.8 — Marshall’s points allowed per game, the best average in C-USA and 12th best in the FBS.

30.7 — MT’s points allowed per game, the seventh-best average in C-USA and 90th best in the FBS.

47.6 — Marshall’s scoring average, best in C-USA and fourth in the FBS.

And finally …

100 — Percent of folks that are feeling better now that Marshall’s green jerseys look like this …

Hey, it doesn't look like Satan's checkerboard anymore!

Hey, it doesn’t look like Satan’s checkerboard anymore!

The sportswriters thank you, and the spotters in the press box are now building a statue in your honor.