C-USA coaches pick Herd 2nd
HUNTINGTON -- Conference USA football head coaches picked Marshall University for a second-place finish in the East Division.
East Carolina was tabbed to finish first in the East Division. The Pirates received 11 of 14 votes for the top spot and had 95 points in the poll. Marshall was picked first on two ballots and had 82 points. C-USA newcomer Middle Tennessee State picked up the remaining first-place vote.
Marshall had a 5-7 record last season, was 4-4 in the conference and placed third in the East Division.
Tulsa was the runaway top choice in the West Division with all 14 first-place votes.
Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato was named as the league's Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
Cato was joined on the preseason all-conference team by three Thundering Herd teammates -- wide receiver Tommy Shuler, tight end Gator Hoskins and punter Tyler Williams.
Rice senior defensive back Phillip Gaines was chosen as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and Tulane senior kicker Cairo Santos earned Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
Tulsa had the most overall preseason selections with five, while East Carolina and Marshall had four. Rice and Tulane each placed three players on the team. Twelve C-USA schools had at least one player named to the team.
Marshall plays its first league game against Middle Tennessee on Oct. 24 at their field. The Herd finishes the regular season at home against ECU.
The league's ninth annual Championship Game, pitting the champions of the East and West divisions, will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, hosted by the team with the best conference winning percentage.
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