Is it time to press the panic button on Marshall’s 2019 season?
The answer is not yet, but Marshall has to get right this week at home against Old Dominion if the Herd is to get back on the right track heading into a tough road game at Florida Atlantic next week. If the Herd falls this week, the Herd would be on a three-game losing skid and hopes of a C-USA Championship would end, which could cause dissent within the locker room and community. It may be the biggest must-win game in recent memory for head coach Doc Holliday.
What will be the most fun aspect of this contest?
Marshall linebacker Tavante Beckett is a Chesapeake, Virginia, native and grew up going to Old Dominion camps along with injured Herd linebacker Jaquan Yulee. Beckett originally ended up at Virginia Tech before ending up in Huntington. Beckett never received an offer from the Monarchs in high school recruiting or once he exited Virginia Tech. Beckett’s respect for ODU shined in his talks, but there’s no doubt this one is personal. The energetic Herd linebacker will be chirping and mixing it up with players throughout. It ought to be fun to watch the Herd’s leading tackler work on Saturday.
What does Marshall have to do to get a win?
Old Dominion’s offense is one of the worst in the nation. The Monarchs have struggled to go vertical in the pass game and haven’t established the run, either. Marshall’s special teams has to force the Monarchs into long fields and the Herd offense cannot give Old Dominion short-field opportunities due to turnovers. If Marshall can avoid those aspects, they should be able to end the mini-skid that they’ve been on.
Who is/are the key players for Saturday’s matchup?
It goes no further than Marshall quarterback Isaiah Green. Last week, Green had one of the top total-offense performances in Marshall history when he accounted for 460 yards (365 passing, 95 rushing), but it resulted in only one touchdown due to four turnovers from the quarterback spot. Green will be forced to make plays down the field in the passing game and has to limit turnovers. If he does, Marshall wins. If he can’t, the Herd will be 0-2 in C-USA. It’s that simple.
What is one underlying problem that Marshall needs to correct?
The defense is under-performing. Marshall’s performance against Boise State showed potential, but in all reality, the Broncos also shot themselves in the foot at times in the 14-7 win. Since that time, Marshall has given up 107 points in three games, including 83 in its last two home games. Marshall has had chances to get off the field on third downs and also had several opportunities to secure turnovers, but failed to do so. Simply put, the defense needs to tighten up. It’s one thing to be in the right place. It’s another to make plays. Marshall’s defense has to take the next step and make plays.