What is their body of work?
After four straight losing seasons, Marshall finally picked up a winning record (7-6) last season. They also beat Bowling Green in Huntington. This season they are 0-2, with losses to OSU and West Virginia, two of the top 40 teams (roughly) in the country. Many teams would be 0-2 if they played that schedule. They nearly upset WVU in Huntington, but experienced a spectacular collapse in the last six minutes.
What is their best recent result?
This is pretty slim...in a 2008 game they went to Southern Miss and won against a bowl team.
What is their worst recent result?
They ended the regular season last year with a 52-21 defeat to a 4-8 UTEP team.
What is their turnover ratio?
They are -2 this year and have not had a positive turnover rate since 2004.
How is their QB Play?
Their QB is Brian Anderson again this year. I think they thought Clemson transfer Willy Korn was the real deal, but he was beaten out for the job and transferred. Anderson was decidedly average last year with 58% completions and a 14/13 ratio. He's doing better so far this year, and was 20-29 with 3 TD and 0 INT against WVU.
What was their scoring and yards per play?
They are averaging 14 points a game and had 21 against WVU. They have 5 yards per play this year, which is not so good, and 6.5 yards against WVU.
Can they run the ball?
While they struggled to run the ball against OSU, they averaged 5 yards a carry last week. Their stud back graduated last year and now Martin Ward and Andre Booker are splitting the load. Ward had 100 yards against Marshall.
Do they pass the ball?
They had 229 yards passing against WVU with 3 TDs, although there is a 96 yard TD pass mixed in there. With that out, they were 19-28 on the rest of the passes on a pretty safe set of attempts. They do not rely on any one receiver and they have distributed their catches quite a bit.
How is their run/pass balance?
This season they have passed the ball on 57% of their plays, but against WVU it was about 50/50.
Do they convert on 3rd Down.
They were 5 of 14 against WVU, which is probably one reason why they weren't even farther ahead.
Do they score in the red zone?
They were 2-3 with 2 TDs against WVU. The one failure was that fumble that started the WVU comeback.
Do they protect the quarterback?
They have been sacked only once this season so far.
Basically, they did not have any answers for the Buckeye defense but who does. When you look at the WVU game, you see a team that scored 21 points, and had a nice day mixing runs and high percentage passes and who made one critical red zone mistake. The offense was not driving this victory--the defense had been shutting WVU down until late, but it was still a pretty good team they were competing against. If they can get that kind of mix going Saturday, they will be difficult for BG to defend.
Topline: Scoring and yards per play.
This is pretty interesting. In watching the game, I thought Marshall had a pretty good defensive performance, but in the end, they gave up 28 first downs and allowed WVU to run 87 plays to 56 plays for Marshall. WVU had 469 yards in total offense, albeit on a huge number of plays. Yards per play was pretty respectable.
Do they defend the run effectively?
They held WVU to 3.6 yards per carry, which is pretty good. They had a very strong line from what I saw, and the newspaper writers from down there have been salivating all week about coming against our undermanned offensive front.
Could they be passed on?
Marshall was replacing a couple of CBs and it showed against WVU. They gave up a 32-45 with 316 yards and this eventually cost them the game.
Did they get off the field on 3rd down?
WVU was 8 of 18, which is just a little under 50% and this was not a strong point of that game.
Do they defend in the red zone?
This is, in fact, what kept them in the lead for so long. They allowed 6 RZ trips, which is a lot, but gave up only 2 TDs and 3 FGs, which is pretty good. If the Mountaineers capitalize a little better in the red zone, it isn't a close game.
Do they pressure the QB?
They had 3 sacks against WVU and seemed to get a lot more pressure than that. Vinnie Currie had a monster game. It does worry me given our thin offensive line. In the presser this week, Coach Clawson said that we were changing some schemes to improve protection, but sacrificing receivers in the routes to do so.
Their net punting is below 34 yards per kick and is in the bottom quarter of FBS. 6 of their 15 punts have been inside the 20, so that might tend to bring the average down. They have not been blocked this year.
At 5 yards per return, they are in the middle of FBS. This covers only 2 punt returns so the jury could still be out. They have no TDs this year, but Andre Booker had 20 yards per return and a TD last year, so I assume he can still be dangerous.
Tyler Warren has missed his only 2 FG attempts this year. He didn't kick last year, so I guess we don't know what we are getting.
Kickoffs have been good. Teams have been starting on their own 27, which is decent.
They are starting on the 33 off kickoffs, which is good. Booker is averaging 22 yards per return, which is in the top 50.
Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.
The media in Huntington has been playing up the fact that Marshall only has 2 wins at the Doyt, but I don't put much stock in that. Those were other guys.
There are two key intangibles here.
One, how do the Falcons respond to finally being at home. We've done some good things on the road, and we might be able to put some things together at home. Marshall is 7-30 on the road over the last five years.
Two, how does Marshall respond to being reminded that, once again, they are the little brother to WVU. They were so close, but it was yanked away. They have been saying all week that they have put it behind them, but the test of whether it is really behind them will be on the field. In a long and intense game, they might not have the emotional stamina to battle through. Or, they will come out with something to prove and play really well on Saturday.
Friday, September 17, 2010
What is their body of work?