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Defense does better

MU football
Sep. 03, 2013 @ 12:01 AM

HUNTINGTON -- All off-season, Marshall's defense has fielded questions about whether the team would be able to rebound after 2012.

Inside each of the defensive players, it stewed as they answered each time in the offseason.

On Saturday, eight months of fury and aggravation of hearing about 2012 erupted in a 30-minute segment of the first game of 2013 during the 52-14 win over Miami (Ohio) at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Just how raged out were the defensive players?

How about 55 total yards and zero points for the entire second half?

"We felt like we had everything against us and we had to make a statement and show that we could be a great defensive team -- not just a great offensive team," Marshall nickelback Corey Tindal said. "We came out and showed what we've got."

Tindal was one of several players who stood out as the Herd outscored the RedHawks 38-0 in the second half.

Most notably, the tackling performance was much better with few missed tackles and the entire defense swarming to the ball once it was in the hands of a back or receiver.

It was a different attitude -- an aspect which players credited Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater for instilling.

Raheem Waiters, who scored a defensive touchdown on a 27-yard interception return, said the mindset is completely changed now.

"We have big, strong guys and we're going to come after them," Waiters said. "It's a good feeling to watch the opposition tapping out."

Perhaps the biggest signal of change came from linebacker Jermaine Holmes, who spoke during Monday's player interviews.

While many of the defensive players were happy with the effort which topped any performance from 2012, Holmes still spoke of being hungry and not satisfied.

"Yeah, we made a statement, but as a defense, we got off to a slow start during the first and second quarter," Holmes said. "We gave up some big plays and we could've eliminated them without the little mistakes we had. We wanted to throw a zero up there."

Holmes added that the mistakes were quickly remedied at the half, which shows the team's character at handling adversity.

"You saw how they acted going into the half with it tied," Holmes said. "They thought 'Oh, we got this game.' We came out in the second half and really put it to them."

Marshall's defense gets another chance to put on a show in front of the home crowd when Gardner-Webb comes to Joan C. Edwards Stadium for a 6:30 p.m. matchup on Saturday.

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