So, I ask you, will the weather Saturday give Marshall an advantage?
Let’s get to practical matters first.
Marshall players say they’re not on a revenge tour, but it’s uncertain if that’s the case or if they’re coached to say it. One thing I know for certain: The second half of their 31-14 loss at Florida International was among the most embarrassing, and they have something to prove Saturday.
Looking at if offensively, the Herd line will have problems with FIU defenders, especially if linebackers Anthony Wint and Treyvon Williams return for injuries after a week off. Against Tulane, the Panthers switched to a 4-2-5 to fit the personnel and held the Green Wave to 10 points. I dare anybody to play a 4-2-5 against the Herd on a down other than third-and-long.
I have expected somebody to rush for 100 yards against Marshall defense by now, but it hasn’t happened. I’ve long been sold on Ryan Bee at tackle, and I’m becoming sold on Channing Hames at the other tackle. The linebacking corps appears to be the best I’ve seen in the Doc Holliday era, and there have been some good combos and great individuals. They should get to Alex McGough, who was benched last year and had rough games vs. MU in 2014 and 2015.
Now let’s get to the weather. FIU will land in Charleston or Huntington on Friday and be greeted by splendid West Virginia fall weather. When the ball is kicked off Saturday, the Panthers will be greeted by crappy West Virginia fall weather, maybe 30 degrees colder than what they have played in this season.
If Alex Gardner gets his 100 yards rushing, he’ll earn it. If Alex McGough gets his 200 passing yards, he’ll earn it. Marshall doesn’t allow sacks and doesn’t turn the ball over often, and I expect both factors to continue.
With another 200-yard rushing day, Marshall will chalk up another workmanlike victory, as FIU wants to go home by the 4th quarter. See if this score looks familiar …
MARSHALL 31, FIU 14