By GARY FAUBER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
There’s no definitive word out of Murfreesboro, Tenn., as to which quarterback will start for Middle Tennessee Thursday night against Marshall.
That’s OK. Thundering Herd coach Doc Holliday will have his team ready for both.
Marshall (4-2, 2-0 Conference USA) will play the Blue Raiders for the first time ever as Division I-A foes. The clubs met twice in the Division 1-AA playoffs on the early 1990, with the Herd winning both games.
Kickoff from the Volunteer State will be 7:30 p.m. Eastern. The game will be aired nationally on Fox Sports 1.
A quarterback controversy started for MTSU (3-4, 1-2) in its 34-7 loss at North Texas on Oct. 12. Senior starter Logan Kilgore completed all eight of his pass attempts for 30 yards, but when the Raiders found they could not establish a running attack, they sat Kilgore in favor of redshirt freshman Austin Grammer, a more mobile quarterback.
Grammer ran for 106 yards and the Raiders’ only touchdown.
So the situation behind center became the hot topic as MTSU, like Marshall, headed into its bye week. Coach Rick Stockstill had not announced a starter as of last Saturday.
“They have been excellent. Both of them have a wonderful attitude, and they have worked hard (during the bye week),” Stockstill told the Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro. “It’s probably been good for Logan to raise his competitiveness another level, but both have responded like you hoped they would.”
While nothing official has come out of Stockstill’s mouth, Kilgore certainly hasn’t made his feelings secret, telling the News Journal he is “100 percent” the starter.
Holliday said Kilgore and Grammer each has different ability, but not so much that they significantly impact the Raiders scheme.
“You have to prepare (for both), but they don’t do a whole lot different offensively,” Holliday said Monday in his weekly press conference, a day earlier because of the Thursday game. “With Grammer in the game, it’s more of a run-first offense, but with Kilgore, he likes to throw the ball. They’re both excellent quarterbacks, we’re prepared for both and I’m sure we’ll see both.”
If Holliday were a betting man, he would place it all on Kilgore at least playing the majority of the game.
“I think Kilgore will be the quarterback because he has done so much for them,” the fourth-year coach said. “He had tremendous success a year ago and I’d be surprised if it is not Kilgore at quarterback. I’m sure they’ll probably try to play both ... We’ve prepared for both, but if I was guessing I’d say it will be Kilgore.”
— E-mail: gfauber