College Football Preview: Miami at Marshall

Who: Miami (6-7, 6-2 Mid-American Conference East Division) at Marshall (3-9, 2-6 Conference USA).

When: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

Where: John C. Edwards Stadium (38,016), Huntington, W.Va.

Series notes: Miami leads, 30-12-1, but Marshall has won three straight and eight of the last nine games. Miami’s last win was a 45-6 romp at Yager Stadium in 2003.

Coaches: Miami, Chuck Martin, nine seasons, 85-33, 11-26 in three Miami years; Marshall, Doc Holliday, eight seasons, 53-37.

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Stat pack (top returning performers from 2016): Miami – QB Gus Ragland 115-179, 1,537 yards, 17 TDs, 1 int.; RB Alonzo Smith 709 rushing yards, 4.3 avg., 3 TDs; WR James Gardner 45 catches, 750 yards, 6 TDs; S Tony Reid 98 tackles, 51 solo; Marshall – QB Chase Litton, 231-371, 2,612 yards, 24 TDs, 9 int.; RB Keion Davis 469 rushing yards, 4.2 avg., 6 TDs; TE Ryan Yurachek 28 catches, 298 yards, 5 TDs; S Kendall Gant 77 tackles, 43 solo.

Local flavor: The Thundering Herd roster includes no players from local high schools.

The facts: The Marshall-Miami rivalry grew in intensity when the RedHawks – then Redskins – rolled to a 66-6 win over the Thundering Herd in 1971, Marshall’s first season after the entire team was lost in a tragic plane crash. That loss has stuck in Marshall’s collective craw ever since. It reached a higher level as Marshall was winning or sharing six straight MAC East championships in its first six seasons in the conference. The RedHawks finally prevailed in 2003 and the Thundering Herd dropped out after the 2004 season.

Turnaround: Marshall is hoping to get back on track after posting three consecutive seasons of 10 or more wins.

Quote: Ninth-year Marshall head coach Doc Holliday, in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, on Miami: “They are an excellent team. Their quarterback makes them go, and they fly around, and they are well-coached. They are going to be a challenge for us.”

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