Primetime College Football: Mounties vs Herd
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features West Virginia University Mountaineers taking on Marshall University Thundering Herd in Huntington home of the Herd.
The Mountaineers are led by Bill Stewart, now in his third season at the helm and they cruised past Coastal Carolina as expected by a 31-0 final. There are 16 starters back between the offense and defense. While many starters do return for West Virginia, Geno Smith is a fresh face under center. In the opener against Coastal Carolina, Smith was 20-27 for 216 yards 2 touchdowns and 1 INT.
Senior running back Noel Devine ran for 111 yards and one touchdown and the speedy back now has nearly 3,500 rushing yards in his brilliant collegiate career. Senior Jock Sanders was the leading receiver for the Mountaineers as his pulled in 8 catches for 71 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively West Virginia held the Chanticleers to 186 total yards on 60 offensive plays. Of the 14 third-down conversion attempts that Coastal faced in the tilt, only two of those were successful. Sophomore defensive back Terence Garvin lead the way with 7 tackles.
As for Marshall, which is a member of Conference USA, it had the unenviable task of taking on Ohio State in Columbus to open the season last week. The Thundering Herd fell to the Buckeyes in a 45-7 that lopsided defeat spoiled the debut of head coach Doc Holliday.
Holliday’s offense posted just 199 total yards and recorded 11 first downs against Ohio State, which possesses one of the best defenses in all of college football. The Thundering Herd were 4-of-14 on third-down conversion attempts and turned the ball over three times.
A major problem for Marshall was that its receivers dropped far too many passes. Both Brian Anderson and backup Eddie Sullivan saw time under center, and both were victimized by the drops. Anderson was 17-28 for 135 yards 1 INT.
On the defensive side of the ball Marshall was simply over powered by the Ohio State offense. The Thundering Herd were thrashed for 529 total yards as the Buckeyes where able to hold the ball for nearly 35 minutes of the contest. If there was one bright spot on the defense it was the performance of senior linebacker Mario Harvey who recorded 10 total tackles and junior defensive end Vinny Curry who had 2 sacks.
West Virginia has won all nine previous meetings with Marshall, including double-digit victories over the Herd in each of the last four seasons.
PICK: West Virginia University Mountaineers