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Grant Traylor: Marshall, Houston find themselves in same boat

Nov. 14, 2012 @ 12:32 AM

Marshall and Houston are floating in the same boat as their football teams sail into Joan C. Edwards Stadium this weekend.

And to this point of the season, it's been a boat that is taking on water.

For both of these teams, it's time to either sink or swim.

Both teams come into the contest off of disappointing losses, and both are at 4-6 on the season.

The scenario is simple.

The winner will have one game left to try to gain bowl eligibility. The loser will officially be eliminated from the postseason and have one game left in its 2012 campaign.

"It's going to be crazy," Marshall wide receiver Tommy Shuler said. "They want a bowl game. We want to win a bowl game. I think everything will be hype. We have to go out there and play ball."

For the second-straight year, the last game of the season at Joan C. Edwards Stadium will be one that will eliminate a team from the post-season.

Houston (4-6, 3-3, Conference USA) and Marshall (4-6, 3-3) clash at noon, Saturday, in game televised by CSS (Huntington Ch. 68).

The scenario sets up exactly like the final home game of the 2011 season -- a time when Marshall and East Carolina battled to an overtime duel with the Herd earning a 34-27 win and subsequent berth in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, which they won 20-10 over Florida International.

With many weapons back from that team, which finished 7-6 last season, it wasn't expected that Marshall would be in a year-end situation where its postseason fate on the line.

"You come into the season with a mindset that it's going to be a good year and you keep facing adversity and more adversity," Marshall defensive end Jeremiah Taylor said. "It's tough to deal with, but you have to keep your head on a swivel. The season isn't over until it's over and we've still got two games left. Everyone has bought in to ending the season the right way."

Alas, here they are at season's end, trying to scrape out two wins to advance back to the postseason.

Just like 2011.

It's not a scenario that everyone envisioned, but it is one they are facing head-on over the next two weeks.

"You've got to put it out of your mind," Marshall strong safety Dominick LeGrande said. "There's no time for reflecting now. It's over with. We have to focus on what we've got to do now. It's must-win."

Ironically, this sink-or-swim affair will feature a pair of teams that will utilize the air to try and gain an advantage.

Look for the Herd to head back to its vaunted aerial attack to keep its head above water.

If Marshall can't, it will be difficult for the Herd to avoid another loss.

It's that cut and dried.

STAT CHANGE: Marshall sports information director Jason Corriher said Monday that credit for Saturday's blocked field goal has changed. The block was awarded to Brandon Sparrow in the statistic book handed out at game's end, but after reviewing the game film, it was shown that Marques Aiken had blocked the kick.

QB CLUB: The Huntington Quarterback Club will have its weekly luncheon at Guyan Golf and Country Club on Thursday.

Doors open at 11:30 and lunch will be served at noon. Cost is $15 for non-members and $12 for members.

This week's guest speaker will be Moe Lajterman, brother of 1970 kicker Marcel Lajterman, who was killed in the 1970 plane crash.

Grant Traylor is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or gtraylor@herald-dispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter (@GrantTraylor).




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