Catamount QB a familiar foe
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second of a 12-part series featuring Marshall's 2012 opponents.
HUNTINGTON -- It'll take place on Sept. 8, 2012, but it'll lead minds to wander back to Nov. 17, 2011, the day the Marshall University football team played with just two available quarterbacks.
The freshness of the story isn't scheduled to wear off when Western Carolina rolls into Joan C. Edwards Stadium for the Thundering Herd's home opener. There's little doubt -- all eyes will be on the Catamount quarterback.
He is, of course, Eddie Sullivan, the one-time Marshall signal caller who quit the team last November some 48 hours before the Herd's crucial Conference USA contest at Memphis.
With A.J. Graham already sidelined with a shoulder injury, it left Marshall with just Rakeem Cato, the starter, and Blake Frohnapfel, the emergency backup who would lose his redshirt if he stepped on the field. Sullivan, a true sophomore at the time, was going to be faced with losing his redshirt season if he were to play. Thus, he left and has since resurfaced on the roster of the Herd's 2012 week two opponent.
So, how dangerous will Sullivan be?
His brief career in Huntington saw just seven games, six completions (on 24 attempts) and 134 yards. However, he turned heads during WCU's spring ball, nabbing the starting job in April.
"He's taken a leadership role on this team, and the players have gotten better behind him," Catamounts coach Mark Speir told the Ashville Citizen-Times newspaper on April 13. "He's got a little bit of that Brett Favre about him. He's got some cockiness. But he's the kind of guy, if he makes a bad read or throw, he's the first guy to tell the receivers, 'Hey, it was my fault.'"
In Western Carolina's spring game, Sullivan completed 17 of 27 passes for 207 yards with a touchdown and interception. He also ran 13 times for 54 yards and two scores.
It's in the help department, however, where the Boca Raton, Fla., native might struggle.
WCU, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision, is coming off a 1-10 season where it ranked last in the Southern Conference in scoring offense, scoring defense, total defense and rush defense.
Speir, a former Appalachian State assistant, will have an uphill battle to climb in his debut season at WCU. The Catamounts' other Football Bowl Subdivision opponent? Try a Nov. 17 clash at defending national champion, Alabama.
It could be tough for Sullivan and company, which will feature sophomore Shaun Warren at running back (454 yards, five touchdowns in 2011) and redshirt junior Deja Alexander at receiver (35 catches, 459 yards, one TD).
Aug. 30 Mars Hill
Sept. 8 at Marshall
Sept. 15 at Wofford
Sept. 22 Samford
Sept. 29 at Furman
Oct. 6 Georgia Southern
Oct. 13 at Citadel
Oct. 20 at Elon
Oct. 27 Appalachian State
Nov. 3 Chattanooga
Nov. 17 at Alabama