The Parthenon

Thundering Herd football hoping to end losing streak against WKU Saturday

Kyle Curley, Assistant Sports Editor

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Marshall football (6-3, 3-2) looks to bounce back this Saturday at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium where they will take on Western Kentucky University (5-4, 3-2). This week marks the anniversary of the young Thundering Herd tragedy.

“They understand the importance of this game and what it means, not only to our football program now, but our community and our fan base,” head coach Doc Holliday said. “We start it in the summer. Keith (Morehouse) does a great job explaining the importance of it, and that’s where it starts and it continues throughout their careers.”

Although the Marshall football team will be playing for a greater cause, representing the 75, Holliday said this is an important game for the team to continue their campaign toward a Conference USA championship.

“I think every game is a must win,” Holliday said. “Our goals and expectations will never change. I told our kids last night this is a big game; number one, because it’s the next one, number two, because of who it is and number three, it’s the game that represents the 75 that we lost in that crash, so we have an awful lot to play for.”

Marshall has lost its last three contests to the Hilltoppers dating back to 2014. The last time Marshall played WKU, it lost 60-6, its worst loss at Joan C. Edwards Stadium history.

“It’s kind of a hard one to forget, that’s for sure,” Holliday said. “That was about as ugly as it gets.”

Marshall has lost its last two games, to FIU and most recently FAU.

“It was a rough game; we started slow like we did against FIU,” starting defensive end Blake Keller said. “It sucks that we lost, but we just have to rebound and get back on the right track.”

The team has managed to turn the ball over seven times in that span, and all seven turnovers belong to starting quarterback Chase Litton. Litton has thrown six interceptions and fumbled once.

“The first seven games he played really well and took care of the ball,” Holliday said. “He’s just got to get back to what he was doing. It would be one thing if he was forcing throws and making bad reads. He isn’t. He’s throwing the ball where it’s supposed to be. A couple of balls took off on him, sometimes those are incomplete and they just happened to be interceptions. There’s nobody that wants to correct things more than he does. He’ll go to work as he did last night to make things better.”

The Hilltoppers have 23 new faces that have made start this year for the team. That ranks third nationally behind Baylor, Illinois and Ball State.

“Anytime you get a lot of new faces and a new staff we have played three in a row, completely new staffs that we haven’t had any bead on them on how they played us the year before,” senior starting tight end Ryan Yurachek said. “You have to really dive into the film extra when you’re playing a team with new faces.”

WKU’s defense has allowed 206 points this season, the fewest in the Football Bowl Subdivision era and since 2007.

“They do a good job,” Yurachek said. “They’re going to play a little four down. They are going to play man free. They do a lot of different things on defense, and they don’t make very many mistakes.”

Marshall is currently tied with WKU in the Conference USA standings at 3-2. The Thundering Herd will take on the Hilltoppers this Saturday at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington. The game will be broadcast live on BeIN sports network. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m.

Kyle Curley can be contacted at [email protected]

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