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Quarterbacks — Marshall

Marshall quarterback Grant Wells looked comfortable in the uptempo scheme against Navy, averaging 17.3 yards per completion. Wells did have a couple throws sail on him, which he’ll have to address. NC Central’s Davion Richard is a dual threat who keyed the Eagles past Alcorn State in the opener. He will be a challenge for the Herd defense.

Running backs — NC Central

While Rasheen Ali and Sheldon Evans combined for six touchdowns, there were several missed big gains on film and the duo put the ball on the ground three times combined. NC Central’s Jorden Warren and Isaiah Totten are proven senior backs that mirror each other. Freeman finished with a team-high 72 yards in the win over Alcorn State.

Wide receivers — Marshall

The duo of Talik Keaton and Corey Gammage proved dangerous in the Navy win with Keaton catching five passes for 100 yards and Gammage hauling in seven passes for 94 yards. Xavier Gaines and Shadeed Ahmed were also over 50 yards receiving. NC Central counters with Ryan McDaniel, who hauled in six passes for 72 yards in the season-opener.

Offensive line — Marshall

The Herd’s offensive unit jelled well in their opener together as the Herd averaged 7.4 yards per play. Alex Mollette leads the offensive front while Logan Osburn and Kendrick Sartor did a good job in their first major action. NC Central’s Robert Mitchell keys the Eagles’ front.

Defensive line — Marshall

The Herd defensive front rotated several players and got production from everyone in handling Navy’s ball-control offense. Jayshaun Coffman was a name that came to the forefront for the Herd in the win. NC Central’s Jessie Malit is a fast player off the edge who will serve as a challenge for the Herd.

Linebackers — Marshall

Abraham Beauplan had 13 tackles and Eli Neal had 11 tackles and three sacks to earn C-USA Defensive Player of the Week honors. Neal’s recognition will be key again this week with an RPO offense for the Eagles. NC Central linebacker Noah Rainbow-Douglas had seven tackles in the Alcorn State game.

Secondary — Marshall

This is a strength for both teams with the Herd getting a slight edge, based on depth. Cory McCoy played well for the Herd, who played without Nazeeh Johnson for undisclosed reasons. Cornerbacks Steven Gilmore and LeAnthony Williams should be tested more this week. NC Central’s Brandon Codrington and Manny Smith are two of the Eagles’ top talents and they lead a stingy pass defense.

Special teams — Marshall

Marshall blocked a field goal and punt last week — the first time since 2018 it had happened in the same game. Codrington is one of the nation’s top return men, regardless of division, so Marshall’s coverage teams have to be on point against the Eagles.

Getting it done — Marshall

There will be an energy and excitement for the Herd as they take the field in front of a full stadium of fans for the first time in two years. That will bring some emotions early and the team will have to settle down — especially in the up-tempo game. Marshall faces a tougher test from NC Central than Navy, but wins convincingly, 45-10.

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

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