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The Parthenon

Marshall football to stampede into Cincinnati Saturday

Kyle Curley, Assistant Sports Editor

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By Kyle Curley

The Parthenon

The Thundering Herd will continue its 2017 season Saturday at 7 p.m. at Nippert Stadium against the Bearcats. The all-time series between the two schools weighs in favor of the University of Cincinnati, 8-3-1.

The Bearcats are coming off a defeat at the hands of Navy, 42-32. Marshall starting tight end Ryan Yurachek said the team expects them to be ready to play in front of their home crowd.

“We hope that comes into fruition this week and that we can use that,” Yurachek said. “We expect them to come out. I don’t think they have been home since their first game, so I’m sure they are ready to get back at home. I am sure they are ready to come out with a lot of juice. We have to be able to match that.”

Though they suffered defeat, Bearcats quarterback Hayden Moore amassed 381 yards on 28 completions and three touchdowns.

“If you look at Cincinnati, they’re an excellent football team,” head coach Doc Holliday said. “They’re well-coached and, offensively, it starts with their quarterback. He started to get into rhythm against Navy. He threw for over 300 yards, and he’s an excellent player.”

The quarterback match-up for Saturday will feature Moore versus Chase Litton. Litton continued his nation leading touchdown streak against Kent State to 24 games in a row. However, Litton was asked to assess the season thus far and he still sees room for improvement amongst his offense.

“(We’re) not where this team needs to be to do what we want to do,” Litton said. “We have to really step up and be that offense that we need to be to win games, and we are going to put in situations this Saturday to do that.”

The Bearcats are currently 2-2 for the season and have wins over Austin Peay and a familiar Marshall opponent this season, Miami (Ohio).

“One thing I take from that is that they continue to fight, and they did the same thing at Navy last week,’ Holliday said. “In the last two, three minutes of the game they were still in it. They found a way to scratch and stay in it. You can see how you stack up against them personnel-wise because you played that particular team. We played Miami, and we have a pretty good idea of how they are, so it does help to an extent having a common opponent.”

Nippert Stadium has garnered a reputation for being a difficult place to play as the away team. To Marshall’s benefit, the team has already experienced a similar atmosphere when it played NC State earlier this season.

“Anytime you play in front of that many fans in a live crowd, you have to start fast and kind of get them out of the game as much as possible,” Yurachek said. “I think we did a great job of that at NC State. Their crowd wasn’t a factor after the first drive in that game. It’s awesome to go on the road to a place that you know will have a lot of people there, and they will have some noise, and that’s always a great atmosphere to play in, so you hope their crowd is in it as much as possible.”

One area in which the Marshall offense has found new life is in the rushing attack.

“We have become more consistent running the ball,” Holliday said. “Tyler King came in and gave us a spark and hopefully he can give us the same spark Saturday against a good defensive front.”

Newly appointed starting running back Tyler King has given his team a much-needed confidence boost out of the backfield.

“Anytime you get a tailback in there who does a good job, they make that offensive line look good at times,” Holliday said. “Those holes don’t have to be as big, and you don’t have to block as long. If you have a guy who is talented back there, they feed off each other, which is good. It didn’t surprise me when he went out there and did what he did.”

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. this Saturday in Cincinnati, Ohio. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 3.

Kyle Curley can be contacted at [email protected]

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