Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL FOOTBALL ; Herd Takes on High-Powered Western Kentucky

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL FOOTBALL ; Herd Takes on High-Powered Western Kentucky

Article excerpt

HUNTINGTON - This is Marshall's Senior Night, a typically emotional game in which the Thundering Herd wants to give its outgoing players an appropriate sendoff. But will that emotion matter against Western Kentucky's superpower offense?

In two games, the Thundering Herd has had fits against the Hilltoppers, allowing 116 points and 1,284 total yards. Brandon Doughty completed 61 of 89 passes for 861 yards and 13 TDs.

And all that came against 10-win Marshall teams.

Doughty has moved on to the NFL, but that doesn't seem to matter. His replacement, former South Florida quarterback Mike White, has thrown for 3,373 yards and 28 touchdowns this season. He has two 1,000-yard receivers in Taywan Taylor and Nicholas Norris, a 1,000- yard rusher in Anthony Wales and an offensive line with 180 combined career starts.

That offense will revisit Joan C. Edwards Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday, with ESPNU televising.

In last season's game, a 49-28 WKU victory, the Hilltoppers started with passes of 27, 13 and 35 yards, scoring the first of their seven TDs in just three plays.

Again, that was a 10-win Marshall team. The squads were playing for the East Division title of Conference USA.

Now, only WKU (8-3 overall, 6-1 C-USA) is playing for another East Division title and Marshall (3-8, 2-5) has long been eliminated from the postseason. This now looks like a gross mismatch.

In all likelihood, the Hilltoppers' offense will take the field first. Between opponents taking the ball when they win the coin toss and MU deferring the option when it wins, the Herd defense has taken the field in 10 of 11 games.

When defenders look behind center on the game's first scrimmage play, they'll see the No. 14 of White instead of the No. 12 of Doughty.

Any other differences?

"He's not a lot different, unfortunately, said Herd coach Doc Holliday. "You look at his numbers, he's about the same, touchdowns [28] to interceptions [five]. [WKU coach] Jeff [Brohm] has done a good job developing him, and he's got good players around him. That offensive line will be as good as we've faced.

The Herd has seen Taylor and Norris, both seniors, up close. Or maybe not so close - those two tend to pull away from those who cover them. …

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