Purdue limits opponents to Short yardage
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Most teams attempted to run against Purdue's defense this season came up short.
It's fitting considering the key to the Boilermakers success is a player named Short.
Kawaan Short, a 6-foot-3, 315-pound defensive tackle for Purdue, is one of the nation's best, and a large task for any team to take on.
Trying to minimize his impact is a key component of Marshall's gameplan for Saturday. Marshall (2-2) visits Purdue (2-1) for a 3:15 p.m., game in Ross-Ade Stadium that is being telecast on the Big Ten Network (Huntington Ch. 742).
Short is a game-changing force, and it isn't just about his bulk and ability to clog the middle.
"He's not your typical 315-pound guy," Marshall offensive coordinator Bill Legg said. "You turn the film on, and they throw a screen on the other side of the field away from him and he sticks his foot in the ground and runs over there and is in on the tackle for a five or six-yard gain to a skill guy. That's the type of ability that kid has."
Short has just six tackles this season as teams have tried to either double-team him or completely go away from him.
However, of those six tackles, four were for losses, including three quarterback sacks.
Much like what everyone else has tried to do against Purdue's defense, Marshall is hoping to get the ball out of quarterback Rakeem Cato's hands quickly and allow playmakers to do work.
Especially with the hyperspeed offense the Thundering Herd is running, the goal is to get Purdue's big defensive linemen chasing the ball on the perimeter.
"We've done a good job offensively of mixing things up and I don't think we're one-dimensional as far as getting the ball just to Aaron (Dobson) or Tommy (Shuler)," Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said. "We've been able to spread the ball around. Now with the emergence of being able to run the football a little bit last week, hopefully that will help us."
Marshall leads the nation in plays from scrimmage and number of plays of 10 yards or more (88).
The success moving the football has translated to points on the other end as the Herd gets into a rhythm, and it's a trend that will need to continue this week.