Grant Traylor: Upcoming Tulsa game will resemble Purdue
As Marshall watches film to prepare for its Conference USA battle with Tulsa this Saturday, the game film is going to be very similar to what they saw in preparation for Purdue.
Tulsa features the leading rushing attack in Conference USA at 244.8 yards per game while also leading in total defense, allowing just 338 yards per game.
It is much of the same style the Herd saw against Purdue.
The good news for the Herd is Marshall improved against Purdue's rushing attack, limiting the Boilermakers to under two yards per rush for the contest and keeping Purdue 70 yards under their season-average.
The bad news is that the Herd will go up against another dual-threat quarterback in Tulsa quarterback Cody Green. Dual-threat quarterbacks have given the Herd fits all year.
Green showed exactly what he can do against UAB over the weekend, throwing for 237 yards and two scores while also rushing for a 45-yard score.
The Golden Hurricane also feature the talented running trio of JaTerian Douglas, Trey Watts and bruiser Alex Singleton, who used his 6-1, 260-pound frame to rumble for 58 yards and three scores, including the game-winner as Tulsa defeated UAB 49-42.
Tulsa's offense is producing 42 points a game, which is one point better than Marshall for tops in the conference.
The biggest difference between the teams is on the defensive side of the ball where Tulsa is tops in Conference USA, allowing just 338 yards a game.
Once again, it will be the nation's top-ranked passing offense going up against a defense that loves to feast on the opposing offense. Tulsa leads the nation in sacks with 25.
Much like Purdue, the Golden Hurricane are led by a mammoth defensive tackle -- Daeshon Bufford, a 292-pound grinder that is tied for the team lead with 5.0 sacks.
Bufford is tied with linebacker DeAundre Brown, who is the biggest playmaker defensively. Last week, Brown snagged an interception to set up Singleton's game-winning touchdown run.
Tulsa received one vote in the USA Today Top 25.
NATIONAL LEADERS: Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato continues to lead the nation in completions (187) and passing yards (1,920) while placing tied for third in touchdown passes with 15.
Tommy Shuler also leads the nation in receptions with 51 on the year, leading West Virginia's Tavon Austin, who has 48.
Marshall also leads the nation with 111 plays that have gone for 10 yards or more.
RED ZONE PRODUCTION: The Herd has been extremely efficient once getting into the red zone this season.
Marshall has scored on 25-of-27 opportunities this season with 22 touchdowns in those opportunities.
WILSON MISSED SECOND HALF: Wide receiver Antavious Wilson missed much of the second half with an injury.
Wilson still finished with seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown before leaving.
Marshall coach Doc Holliday said that Wilson had been banged up coming into the game.
RECORD PLAYERS: Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato set the Purdue opponent mark for completions and attempts, passing Illinois quarterback Jack Trudeau in both categories. Trudeau went on to play quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.
Tommy Shuler also passed Illinois wide receiver David Williams - Trudeau's main target in the 1985 contest - for a record number of receptions by a Purdue opponent.
CORRECTION: In Sunday's edition of The Herald-Dispatch, it was said that Jeremiah Taylor blocked the punt which led to Derek Mitchell's 35-yard return for a score.
In fact, it was Jermain Kelson that blocked the kick.
Taylor later blocked an extra point in the contest.
Grant Traylor is a sports writer for The Herald-Dispatch. He can be reached by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 304-526-2759. Follow him on Twitter (@GrantTraylor).
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