Herd looking for two wins in a row
HUNTINGTON -- The Marshall Thundering Herd football team has perhaps its best shot at getting back to back wins for the first time this season Saturday at UAB.
The teams kick off at 4:30 p.m. The telecast is on WVAH-11 and Comcast Sports Southeast (Huntington cable Ch. 68).
Both Marshall (4-5, 2-3 Conference USA) and Blazers (2-7, 1-4) are coming off of wins, with Marshall defeating Memphis (38-28) and UAB knocking off winless Southern Miss (27-19).
Quarterback Rakeem Cato said after the Memphis win it was important for Marshall to finally get two in a row.
His coach seconded the motion.
"That's the plan; that's all (the team) has to concern themselves with," said Marshall head coach Doc Holliday at a Tuesday press conference. "You have to take them one at a time, and right now that's UAB, and then we'll worry about the next one."
Though the Herd owns the all-time series against the Blazers, 6-1, Holliday said UAB presents plenty of challenges.
"They're scoring a lot of points against some good (teams)," Holliday said. "I felt when we played those guys last year. ... that they had as good of skill than anyone else in the league."
They have a receiver whom Holliday considers to be the fastest in the league in Jamarcus Nelson, and middle linebacker Marvin Burdette is the leading tackler in C-USA.
UAB can be tricky, too.
They've tried six onside kicks so far this year, and have been successful on three.
In their third game of the season, the Blazers hung with a heavily favored Ohio State team in Columbus, falling 29-15. In that contest, the Blazers recovered an onside kick, and blocked a punt.
Holliday said that was the first time that had ever happened to Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer in his career.
Marshall will also have to battle a different kind of home field advantage: an enormous stadium with no one in it.
It can do strange things to teams, including having them come out flat.
Marshall faced a similar situation earlier this year in their road trip to Rice, a 54-51 double overtime win.
"We'll start talking about that with our kids today (Tuesday)," Holliday said. "A lot of our players have been (to UAB), and for the kids that haven't, all you have to do is remind them of going to Rice."
Marshall is 2-0 this season on the road in C-USA play.