Herd football, Middle Tennessee to battle under Friday night lights

Redshirt+sophomore+running+back+Tyler+King+gestures+to+the+camera+before+Marshall%E2%80%99s+2017+matchup+at+Middle+Tennessee.+The+Herd+would+claim+victory%2C+38-10.
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Herd football, Middle Tennessee to battle under Friday night lights

Redshirt sophomore running back Tyler King gestures to the camera before Marshall’s 2017 matchup at Middle Tennessee. The Herd would claim victory, 38-10.

Redshirt sophomore running back Tyler King gestures to the camera before Marshall’s 2017 matchup at Middle Tennessee. The Herd would claim victory, 38-10.

Richard Crank

Redshirt sophomore running back Tyler King gestures to the camera before Marshall’s 2017 matchup at Middle Tennessee. The Herd would claim victory, 38-10.

Richard Crank

Richard Crank

Redshirt sophomore running back Tyler King gestures to the camera before Marshall’s 2017 matchup at Middle Tennessee. The Herd would claim victory, 38-10.

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Marshall University football (3-1, 1-0 C-USA) returns to Joan C. Edwards Stadium Friday for its 7:30 p.m. matchup against Middle Tennessee State University (2-2, 1-0 C-USA).

“They’re an excellent team, and they are well coached,” Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said. “They will come in here ready to play, and we have to make sure we have a great week of preparation.”

Marshall and MTSU have met seven times, and Marshall has a 5-2 record in the series. Since joining Conference USA in 2013, the Blue Raiders are 2-3 against Marshall but are winless in Huntington.

The Blue Raiders’ offense has a record-breaking quarterback in redshirt senior Brent Stockstill. Stockstill led MTSU to a victory against Marshall in his 2015 start. In that game, Stockstill threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns.

Stockstill is the all-time total offensive leader at MTSU with 9,933 career-passing yards and 85 touchdown passes. He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 27-straight games, which is the second-longest streak nationally. Holliday acknowledged what kind of player Stockstill is.

“It starts with Stockstill, he’s a competitive kid that just plays extremely hard,” Holliday said. “He’s a handful, he makes plays with his feet and he’s extremely tough.”

Stockstill has help from senior wide receiver Patrick Smith. In his last three games, Smith has 19 catches for 253 yards and four touchdowns. Additionally, Blue Raiders’ junior wide receiver Ty Lee ranked nationally in receptions per game with 6.1 last year.

Defensively, MTSU redshirt senior linebacker Darius Harris leads the team with 30 tackles and two sacks. In 2017, MTSU’s defense held the opposition to under 400 yards of total offense nine times. Marshall’s redshirt junior offensive lineman Levi Brown said he looks forward to the two teams’ veterans matching up.

“Every year, they do something different on defense that you never really see anywhere else,” Brown said. “They have a really good group of defensive linemen, and their front seven is a veteran group. We look forward to putting our veterans against theirs.”

Marshall’s defense has allowed an average of 103 rushing yards per game, which ranks 16th in the nation. Redshirt senior linebacker Chase Hancock reached 250 career tackles last week against Western Kentucky. During that same game, redshirt senior defensive lineman Ryan Bee was credited with two sacks and now has 16 in his career. His next sack will move him into Marshall’s all-time top-10 sack leaders.

Offensively for Marshall, redshirt freshman Isaiah Green has passed for an average of 277 yards per game, which ranks 22nd in the nation. Green also ranks second among all Marshall signal-callers in their first four starts in completions (87) and passing yards (1,108).

Green’s main target is redshirt senior wide receiver Tyre Brady, who ranks 21st in the nation in receptions per game (6.5). Brady also ranks 24th in the nation in receiving yards per game (92.3) and is tied for 14th with five touchdown receptions.

Morgan Griffith can be contacted at [email protected]

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