AP Voter Roundup, Week 4

September 15, 2014 by Derek Redd

Marshall ended up with 28 points in the latest AP Top 25 poll, which is up from 18 the week before. Now, before we see where those points came from this week, let’s review last week.

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News — 21st

Chris Murray, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal — 25th

Donald Heath, Savannah Morning News — 20th

Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press — 24th

John Silver, Manchester (Conn.) Journal Inquirer — 24th

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News — 25th

Chuck McGill, Charleston Daily Mail — 25th

Now to Week 3:

Wilner — 21st

Murray — 24th

Heath — 20th

Sharp — 22nd

Silver — 23rd

Wolf — 25th

McGill — 23rd

Doug Doughty, Roanoke (Va.) Times — 25th

Ed Johnson, Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal — 23rd

Four pollsters who voted for Marshall last week moved the Herd up this week and two more voters joined the group. The team is gaining momentum, but to be honest, I wouldn’t expect Marshall to move into the top 25 for at least a couple of weeks. The Herd is 98 points back of No. 25 Oklahoma State this week, so it’ll need to gain followers among the voters and convince those who do vote to push it higher on their ballots.

Conference USA Week in Review, Week 3

September 15, 2014 by Derek Redd

This week’s non-conference record: 5-4

Overall non-conference record: 17-17

This week’s non-conference record vs. FBS teams: 4-4

Overall non-conference record vs. FBS teams: 11-16

This week’s record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-4

Overall record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-16

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

Trending Up

Davonte Allen and Angelo Jean-Louis — Nine catches, 295 yards and three touchdowns put you on this side of the ledger. Marshall’s top two outside receivers turned in two of the most explosive and dazzling performances in a 44-14 drubbing of Ohio. If this is the production Marshall gets out of these two spots for the rest of the season, the Herd will be tough to beat.

Jaquez Johnson — The Florida Atlantic quarterback showed flashes of greatness last season, and the junior showed a few more this past week in a 50-21 win over former C-USA foe Tulsa. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 318 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, then added a rushing touchdown. He won’t be an easy opponent for the Herd in October.

Cody Sokol — Last week, it was Louisiana Tech’s running game that made waves. This week it was the passing game and quarterback Sokol, who threw for five touchdowns in a 42-21 win over North Texas. The C-USA West Division is not going to be an easy one to predict.

Trending Down

Rice defense — Yes, the Owls have played the team ranked 17th (Notre Dame) and seventh (Texas A&M) in those respective weeks. Here’s where it got tough against the Aggies. A&M scored 38 points and gained 477 yards in a grand total of 16 minutes and 46 seconds. Six of the Aggies 59 plays went at least 20 yards and they averaged 8.1 yards a play. Not a formula for success later this season when Rice visits the big-play capable Herd.

Western Kentucky defense — WKU in 2014 could end up mirroring Marshall in 2012. In their first three games, the Hilltoppers have scored no fewer than 34 points. They’ve also allowed no fewer than 31, and allowed 42 and 50 points in back-to-back weeks. That didn’t help the Herd two years ago, and it won’t help the ‘Toppers this year.

FIU’s crowd — The Panthers hosted an ACC foe this past Saturday in the Pitt Panthers. FIU even led 16-0 at one point and entered halftime still holding a 16-14 lead. This was the “crowd” at FIU’s stadium for that game …

Good seats still available. Make that *all* seats still available.

Good seats still available. Make that *all* seats still available.

The biggest reason the Panthers gave the Miami Herald’s FIU beat writer a press pass again? They needed him to pad the attendance.

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

Gameday, Part III — The jangling and the wrangling

September 13, 2014 by Derek Redd

How many college football blog posts start with an Edgar Allan Poe reference? At least one now, baby!

Welcome to the last “Battle for the Bell” on Huntington soil for the next few years. The series goes back to Athens next season, then goes on hiatus until the Bobcats return to Joan C. Edwards Stadium in 2019.

Marshall will try to secure “The Bell” — which has its own Twitter feed, by the way — without a couple of key players. DE Arnold Blackmon is in street clothes, as is kickoff specialist Amoreto Curraj. So is LT Sebastian Johansson, so expect Trevor Mendelson to get plenty of time there. Offensive line depth problems won’t be fun with the stout defense that Ohio employs, but it remains to be seen whether the Bobcats’ offense is up to snuff. It’s scored a grand total of 20 points in the first two games.

Marshall is a three-touchdown favorite in this game, but this is a game that’s had a penchant of not following the storyline. If Marshall turns the ball over like it has in the last three games (13 to Ohio’s three) or like it did last week in giving the ball away three times to Rhode Island, this game could get a lot closer.

The Herd is hoping for a world of merriment that a melody fortells. The only way it gets merry is if it’s playing  the melody at the end of the game.

That’ll wrap it up from here. Anything else, find me in the Twitterverse. Otherwise …

Happy Tintinnabulation, y’all.

 

 

Numberosity — Ohio Week

September 12, 2014 by Derek Redd

This blog post is rated “W” for “Wanna ring the bell?”

Let’s cut to the chase …

3 — The consecutive wins for Ohio in this “Battle for the Bell.”

13 — Number of turnovers Marshall has committed in those three games.

3 — Number of turnovers Ohio has committed in those same three games.

10 — Average points Ohio scored off turnovers in the last two games.

3 — Average margin of Ohio victory in the last two games.

The moral to the story? Turnovers matter.

0 — Total turnovers Ohio has forced this season.

Doc Holliday often says that Ohio doesn’t beat itself. Here’s proof …

3 — Penalties Ohio commits per game, sixth-best in the FBS.

25.5 — Penalty yards for Ohio per game, seventh-best in the FBS.

On to Bobcats starting QB Derrius Vick. Which Vick shall we see?

18 — Passes Vick completed out of 24 attempts in a win over Kent State. Those completions went for 262 yards and two touchdowns.

Or …

0 — Passes Vick completed in six attempts in a loss to Kentucky. He was pulled in the second quarter for J.D. Sprague, but Ohio coaches went back to Vick for this game.

175 — Yards Marshall’s defense allowed to Rhode Island last week in a 48-7 win. It was the fewest total allowed since the Herd gave up 123 to Ohio in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

20 — Tackles for a loss that Marshall already has collected this season, tied for second in the FBS.

105 — Ohio’s FBS ranking in total offense, 330 yards per game.

121 — Ohio’s FBS ranking in scoring offense, 10 points per game.

And finally …

64 — The predicted temperature for tomorrow’s noon kickoff. Football weather is upon us, y’all.

 

Conference USA Week in Review, Week 2

September 9, 2014 by Derek Redd

This week’s record: 5-7

Overall record: 12-13

This week’s record vs. FBS teams: 2-7

Overall record vs. FBS teams: 7-12

This week’s record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-7

Overall record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-12

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

Trending Up

Louisiana Tech offense — The Bulldogs were one of the worst offensive units in college football last season, ranked 112th in the FBS at 19.2 points per game. They turned that around last week by laying nearly half a hundred on Louisiana-Lafayette in a 48-20 win, and the Ragin’ Cajuns got a few votes in the polls last week. LTU racked up 533 yards, including 184 rushing yards from Kenneth Dixon on just 12 carries.

Marshall defense — Sure, Rhode Island isn’t exactly Oregon, but the Herd’s performance against the Rams was downright dominant. Marshall gave up just 175 yards, and 117 of those came on two drives against the backups late in the game. They were the fewest yards allowed since Marshall held Ohio to 123 in the 2009 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Trending Down

Tucker Carter — This is a halfhearted choice, considering the UTSA quarterback had the Roadrunners in the game with Arizona until almost the end. But the shovel pass he threw on UTSA’s final drive, which the Wildcats picked off to end the upset bit, was awful. I don’t think former QB Eric Soza would have made that decision.

Conference reputation vs. Power 5 teams — Now there are some folks out there who think C-USA might be the strongest Group of 5 conference in college football. I am not among those folks, and the record you see at the top of this post of C-USA versus the Power 5 teams is the main reason. And it’s not like C-USA teams didn’t have their chances. Teams from that conference had Arizona, Illinois, Mississippi State, North Carolina State and Texas Tech on the ropes this past Saturday. None of them could close out those games. Were they close? Sure, but they don’t go down as close losses in the record books, just losses. If Conference USA wants to improve its image, its teams need to start winning some of those games.

AP Voter Roundup, Week 3

September 7, 2014 by Derek Redd

The Herd received 18 points again this week in the Associated Press sportswriters Top 25 poll, good enough to sit ninth among those also receiving votes. http://blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall/wp-admin/post-new.phpDid the point total come any differently than it did last week? Let’s find out …

Here is who voted for the Herd after Week 1′s games:

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News — 20th

Chris Murray, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal — 25th

Donald Heath, Savannah Morning News — 20th

Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press — 25th

John Silver, Manchester (Conn.) Journal Inquirer — 23rd

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News — 25th

Here’s the lineup after Week 2:

Wilner — 21st

Murray — 25th

Heath — 20th

Sharp — 24th

Silver — 24th

Wolf — 25th

Chuck McGill, Charleston Daily Mail — 25th

So Chuck brought the Herd back into his top 25 after dropping the team from his poll last week. He voted Marshall 23rd in his preseason poll.

The bad news for Marshall poll-wise this week was a couple more hits to its strength of schedule. Miami (Ohio), after losing to Marshall 42-27 in Week 1, lost to Eastern Kentucky 17-10 this past Saturday. The Herd’s opponent this coming Saturday, Ohio, lost to Kentucky 20-3. But would beating a team in the Bobcats that it hasn’t the last three seasons bolster its resume? We shall see.

Gameday, Part II — Raindrops keep fallin’ … and fallin’ … and fallin’ on my head

September 6, 2014 by Derek Redd

My poor little umbrella was little match for the monsoon I had to walk through to get to Joan C. Edwards Stadium for tonight’s tilt between Marshall and Rhode Island. I feel worse for some of the tailgaters. I’m looking across the street from the Shewey Building and there’s a parking lot where the cars are sitting in at least six inches of water, maybe more. Weather got a lot nicer after the rain pushed through, though.

The rain and flooding were enough to push kickoff of tonight’s game back a half-hour to 7:34 p.m. My condolences to my media brethren with deadlines tonight.

That should be the only late-night nail-biter we should see tonight. Rhode Island is a team that hasn’t had a winning season in years, introduces a new coaching staff and a new quarterback who has never taken a snap. I don’t know if we’re going to see a replay of Andrew Hendrix.

The only other drama should be who dresses and who doesn’t tonight. Kickoff specialist Amoreto Curraj isn’t dressed, so Kaare Vedvik will handle them again this week. Corner Keith Baxter, who missed last week with a hamstring injury, is still out, but running back Steward Butler, who needed an injection in his stomach for some unspecified injury, is in uniform. Also out is safety A.J. Leggett, who took a nasty shot in the Miami game and was on the turf for a couple of minutes. Kent Turene is in street clothes, too. He, like Baxter, can’t catch a break. Or they both have caught too many breaks … and bumps and bruises … in their careers.

That’s all from here for now. If anything else pops up, find me in the Twitterverse. Until then …

Happy Home Opener, y’all.

Vision becomes reality with the Chris Cline Athletic Complex

September 6, 2014 by Derek Redd

Marshall officially opened the Chris Cline Athletic Complex before Saturday’s game. The facility is named for Marshall benefactor Chris Cline, who donated a healthy chunk of the money to get that facility built. I got my first look inside during the opening ceremony, and it’s quite impressive. See for yourself

This makes it official.

This makes it official.

On the podium for the ceremony were Marshall AD Mike Hamrick, President Dr. Stephen Kopp, Cline and Vision Campaign co-chairs Mike D’Antoni and Chad Pennington.

The guests of honor

The guests of honor

As I looked around I was reminded of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ indoor practice facility. Pennington said afterward that it was better than the indoor facilities he practiced in with the Dolphins and Jets.

The view from one side of the field

The view from one side of the field

Kopp introduced Cline, who seemed a little uncomfortable with the spotlight shining on him, but was very happy with the finished product and appreciative of the work everyone has done in its construction. He said that he was at a football game at Dwyer High School in West Palm Beach, Fla., and asked one of the coaches what blue-chip recruits are looking for in terms of picking a college. The answer was indoor practice facilities, which gave him an idea of how important one could be to Marshall’s future.

He ended by mentioning what he really wants the indoor facility to be used for — not just regular season practices, but bowl practices.

The face behind the name on the front of the building.

The face behind the name on the front of the building

 

 

Numberosity — Rhode Island Week

September 4, 2014 by Derek Redd

This blog post is rated “A” for “Air-Conditioned Press Box,” which will be a step up from last week.

Let’s get the not-so-good out of the way …

17 — The total points Miami (Ohio) scored in the third quarter of last week’s game.

0 — The total points Marshall scored in that same third quarter

142 — The total yards Miami gained in that third quarter.

58 — The total yards Marshall gained in that same span.

Now, on to the better stuff …

42 — Marshall’s point total in its 42-27 win, the most any FBS road team scored in the opening week of the season.

151 — Devon Johnson’s rushing total versus the RedHawks, in his first game as a college tailback.

2 — The total consecutive season openers Marshall has won, both against Miami. The last time the Herd won at least two straight season openers was 2008 and 2009.

And now on to this week …

52.8 — The average point total Marshall scored in going 6-0 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium last year. That’s prolific.

9 — The number of consecutive quarters Rhode Island went scoreless to end last season. The Rams were shut out of the fourth quarter in a loss at Old Dominion and through all of losses to Villanova and Maine.

0 — Total games played by Rhode Island’s projected starting quarterback, redshirt freshman Mack Lowrie. He sat last year at Boston College before becoming a Ram.

2,681 — Career rushing yards for senior running back Lyle McCombs, who spent the previous three seasons at Connecticut.

9 — Where that ranks him among active players at the FBS and FCS levels.

2.8 — Yards per carry Marshall allowed versus Miami last week.

61 — Red zone touchdowns Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato has thrown in his Herd career.

1 — Red zone interceptions in Cato’s career. Good percentage.

And finally …

20 — Degrees cooler it’ll be in the press box this week as opposed to last. No, I can’t let it go.

AP Voter Roundup: Who voted for the Herd this week?

September 2, 2014 by Derek Redd

Marshall dropped from 41 points in the AP sportswriters preseason poll to 18 points after the first week of games. So on whose ballots did the Thundering Herd fall?

Here are the voters who picked the Herd in the preseason:

Chuck McGill, Charleston Daily Mail – 23rd

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News – 15th

Chris Murray, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal – 23rd

Daniel Berk, Arizona Daily Star, Tuscon, Ariz. – 25th

Donald Heath, Savannah Morning News – 19th

Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press – 25th

Ed Johnson, Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal – 24th

Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth (Tex.) Star-Telegram – 24th

John Silver, Manchester (Conn.) Journal Inquirer – 21st

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News – 24th

Steve Sipple, Lincoln (Neb.) Journal – 22nd

And here are the voters who picked the Herd this week:

Wilner — 20th

Murray — 25th

Heath — 20th

Sharp — 25th

Silver — 23rd

Wolf — 25th

Only one voter, Sharp, didn’t drop the Herd lower on his ballot following the Miami (Ohio) win. McGill, Berk, Johnson, Burch and Sipple all dropped Marshall off their ballots. (By the way, the seven points West Virginia got in this week’s poll all came from Wilner, who ranked the Mountaineers 19th.)

So what say you, Herd fans? Was Marshall’s drop-off in the polls justified?