Herd O-line ready for challenge
HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University's offensive line took on one of the best defensive fronts in the nation last weekend at Purdue.
And, for the most part, the Purdue pass rush didn't bother Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato. The Thundering Herd allowed Cato to be sacked only twice by Purdue in its 51-41 victory.
This week, the plight gets more difficult when Tulsa comes to town with the most sacks in the nation (26).
Tulsa (4-1, 2-0) and Marshall (2-3, 1-0) meet at 3:30 p.m., Saturday, in a Conference USA clash at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The Marshall Homecoming game is televised on the CBS College Sports network, which is Ch. 174 on Huntington cable.
"This game (Purdue) showed us that it doesn't matter who our opponent is, our offense is going to perform the way we know how," Marshall left tackle Jordan Jeffries said. "Purdue was a top 25 defense and they had stopped everyone they played from scoring. We know that if we come out and play the way we are capable of playing, we can score on anyone."
While Purdue and Tulsa both have solid defenses, the way they go about it is different.
Purdue uses its massive defensive line to get in the face of the opposing quarterback while trying to cover with the back seven. When Tulsa comes to Joan C. Edwards Stadium, the Golden Hurricane will bring a whirlwind of pressure with a multitude of blitz packages featuring their athletic linebackers.
Tulsa had seven sacks last week against UAB.
"That's a good defensive front and they bring some good blitzes and stuff like that," Marshall right guard John Bruhin said. "Hopefully, we can study them up, see where they are coming from and get everything dialed in so it won't happen to us."
Not only does the game pit the third-ranked passing offense in the nation against the national leader in sacks, it also provides a pivotal C-USA matchup with both sides looking to remain undefeated in league play.
Tulsa's conference victories were against Tulane (45-10) and UAB (49-42). Marshall has a win over Rice (54-51, 2OT).
"We have to refocus and know that it's a conference game," Bruhin said. "This is the game we really live for. ... We have to get back to the grindstone.
"This is one we have to win."