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Quarterbacks — Marshall

Marshall’s Grant Wells is one of the nation’s better quarterbacks in terms of yardage production, but it has not translated to points due to stall-outs and turnovers in the red zone. ODU’s D.J. Mack actually faced the Herd in the 2019 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl while with UCF.

Running backs — Marshall

The Herd’s Rasheen Ali leads FBS in scoring, but he’s also been extremely fumble-prone in 2021. ODU’s Elijah Davis and Blake Watson are solid, but Mack leads the team in carries from his quarterback spot.

Receivers — Marshall

Marshall’s Corey Gammage has been quiet as of late, but Shadeed Ahmed and Willie Johnson each have picked up slack. Xavier Gaines could also be a matchup issue for the Monarchs this week. ODU’s top target is Zack Kuntz, a 6-foot-8 tight end transfer from Penn State.

Offensive line — Marshall

The Herd offensive front has done a formidable job of paving the road, forging the Marshall offense to 540 yards per game so far this season while allowing just six sacks in 212 passing attempts. Old Dominion has allowed 16 sacks in five games and the rushing attack has never gotten into a good rhythm.

Defensive line — Marshall and Old Dominion

This is arguably Old Dominion’s top unit, but the Herd has just as much talent and more depth along its defensive front. Marshall’s Jamare Edwards and Shane Simmons have consistently been disruptive, but need to hold contain against Mack, who will look to tuck and run. ODU is led by defensive end Deeve Harris.

Linebackers — Marshall

Marshall’s tandem of Abraham Beauplan and Eli Neal have been solid, but Charlie Gray has been the havoc-maker for the Herd in 2021. Old Dominion’s Jordan Young leads a talented middle level for the Monarchs.

Secondary — Marshall

Marshall has playmakers, but there have been as many mistakes — that being pass interference penalties — as plays made in the last few weeks. The Herd needs to shore up the penalties, especially in the red zone. Safety Harrell Blackmon leads the Monarchs, who do not have an interception in 2021.

Special teams — Old Dominion

Old Dominion’s special teams have blocked four punts and kicker Nick Rice has been consistent in placekicking — something Marshall has struggled with doing. The Herd had a punt blocked last week, so that is a point of emphasis coming into this one.

Getting it done — Marshall

The three-game skid ends on Saturday. Old Dominion has not been strong to start games and, with a Homecoming crowd in town, the Herd gets out to a lead. Old Dominion gets going to make it interesting, but Grant Wells and the Herd get things on track with a 41-20 win in Huntington.

Grant Traylor is the sports editor of The Herald-Dispatch, who also covers Marshall athletics for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter @GrantTraylor.

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