2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Marshall Offense
Stop giving the ball away. More of a running game would be a positive, and the scoring pop should be a given, but considering the experience and talent returning, the turnover train has to come to a stop after giving it up 47 times over the last two years.
The Herd were able to survive the mistakes thanks to a defense that was great at forcing mistakes, but the offense has to be far more careful with the ball – and it was.
Late in the year, Marshall was able to slow down the giveaways a bit after turning it over 14 times over an early four game stretch. However, the four turnovers were devastating in the 26-24 loss to Southern Miss, and the three in the ten-point loss to Middle Tennessee didn’t help.
Biggest Key To The Marshall Defense
Don’t allow 30 points. More to the point, don’t get into shootouts.
This year’s team is better equipped offensively to come up with more big scoring bursts, and it had more than its share of moments over the last few seasons when everything clicked. However, in a strange twist, the Herd just never seem capable of winning games with lots of points.
When the O scores big, Marshall wins – that almost always corresponds to a big day from the D. When the D struggles, Marshall loses – that almost always corresponds to a mediocre day from the O.
What does that mean? Marshall went 6-0 last season when it scored 30 points or more, and went 0-3 when it allowed 30 points or more.
To take this further and put it a bit on the Marshall scoring defense under head coach Doc Holliday, since the beginning of 2015 after a 41-31 win over Purdue, the team has gone 0-14 in games when it allows 30 points or more.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Isaiah Green, Soph.
All the talk and excitement before last season was over transfer Alex Thomson, a 6-5 passer with NFL tools. But it was Green who stepped up in the 2018 offseason and took over the starting job, and he put up nice numbers throwing for 220 yards or more seven times in the ten games he played in. When he was out, Thomson came in, and the running game took over.
To be fair to Green, he was in his first season and he was learning on the fly. But with the defense undergoing a redo in several spots, the offense has to carry more of the load – that falls on Green. The passing skills are there, and now he has to take his completion percentage up to well over 60% after hitting 58% last year, and cutting down on the ten picks would be a plus.
Key Game To The Marshall Season
at Middle Tennessee, Oct. 5
The Herd have several big hurdles to get over to win the Conference USA East title. They have to go to Florida Atlantic, and they most likely need to win the home date against FIU in the regular season finale, but going to Middle Tennessee is a really, really big deal.
The Blue Raiders won last year when MU couldn’t stop turning the ball over, and it turned out to be devastating in the hunt for the C-USA title. This time around it’s the league opener, and with a win, there’s a shot at all but ending the race if it can win in Boca Raton against FAU, too, a few weeks later.
– Marshall Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Marshall Fun Stats
– Fumbles: Opponents 20 (lost 12) – Marshall 12 (lost 10)
– Sacks: Marshall 40 for 262 yards – Marshall 19 for 120 yards
– 4th Down Conversions: Marshall 10-of-14 (71%) – Opponents 11-of-25 (44%)