One thing that has been lacking for Marshall, and partly contributing to an unexpected 1-4 start, is the lack of an established run game.
The Thundering Herd (1-4, 0-1 Conference USA) is next-to-last in the conference at 101.0 yards per game. They managed just 52 yards on the ground in a 41-16 loss to Southern Miss on Oct. 2.
Getting that part of the offense going will be one of Marshall’s focal points when it hosts Central Florida (3-2, 1-0) at 8 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN.
“We have to become a more balanced offense,” first-year head coach Doc Holliday said. “I have great confidence in (co-offensive coordinators) Tony Petersen and Bill Legg. They’ve been very successful wherever they have been and we spend a lot of time in that meeting room to find ways for our offense to be successful.
“We all know being one dimensional is not one of those ways.”
Quarterback Brian Anderson, if the trend holds true, should be more than comfortable for Wednesday’s game. The senior from Louisville has thrown for 524 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions in two home games.
In three games away from Huntington, however, Anderson has thrown for 356 yards and two touchdowns and has been picked off five times. He was benched in two of those games, including the Southern Miss game in which he threw for just 30 yards.
Establishing the run is imperative so teams cannot key on Anderson when he is struggling.
“Believe me, we are working extremely hard and spending a lot of time trying to find the best way to run the football,” Holliday said. “It comes down to blocking and we've got to do a better job of doing that.”
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Wednesday’s game will be a White Out, with fans encouraged to wear white. The players will do their part, wearing their road white uniforms instead of home green.
The first 2,000 fans will receive a free white out T-shirt.
Also, all veterans and current servicemen and women will be eligible for discounted tickets. Veterans and current military personnel can purchase end zone tickets for only $15 and sideline tickets for only $22. This is a savings of $7 and $10, respectively, per ticket.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Cam Henderson Center box office during traditional office hours. This offer will be valid the day of the game based on seating availability. You must present a valid military ID or Veterans Administration card at the time of purchase in order to qualify for the discount.
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Beth Mowins will handle play-by-play and David Norrie color analysis for the ESPN broadcast. Forecasts call for temperatures in the low 70s and a 30 percent chance of showers at kickoff.
— E-mail: gfauber