Preview | Marshall Hosts Reigning Sun Belt Champions Louisiana


Shauntelle Thompson

WR Talik Keaton catches pass from QB Cam Fancher

Chayce Matheny, Sports Editor

Marshall (3-2) will host Louisiana (2-3) for their first home Sun Belt Conference game on ESPN2 Wednesday, October 12, at 7:30 p.m.

The last matchup between the two schools was last season in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The then 23rd-ranked Rangin’ Cajuns beat Marshall 36-21.

Additionally , The Herd will unveil all black uniforms and fans have been instructed to wear black to match.

The season for the Herd started strong as they beat Norfolk State 55-3 and then No. 8 Notre Dame 26-21.

After the historic win in South Bend, Marshall went on the road to Bowling Green as a 17-point favorite and lost a heartbreaker in overtime by a final score of 34-31.

Then Marshall went back on the road against Troy and opened their first game in conference play with a loss that included a lackluster offensive performance. The Herd only scored once, which came in the third quarter with a Khalan Laborn 14-yard touchdown run.

After the two-game skid, Marshall got back on track with a win against Gardner-Webb by a final score of 28-7 with a strong performance by Laborn, who had 35 carries, 191 yards and two touchdowns.

Labron has had five straight games with over 100 yards rushing. He’s averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

Laborn is fourth in the country in total rushing yards with 731 and is tied for fourth in the country in touchdowns with eight.

When it comes to the quarterback position, Henry Colombi has taken most of the reps, but there has been the emergence of a dual-threat quarterback in Cam Fancher, who has been getting more playing time each game. He’s been mainly used as a runner having 122 rushing yards compared to his 121 passing yards.

Fancher took over for Colombi in the second half against Gardner-Webb.

Even with Fancher taking over in the second half and getting more playing time, head coach Charles Huff says there isn’t a quarterback controversy.

“No, we have a package for him (Fancher), and the plays we have for him, if we are going to call them, we’ll put him in, and the plays we have for Henry, we’ll call and put him in,” he said.  “Just depends on what they are doing defensively.”

Colombi has completed 84 of 112 passes for 875 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions on the season.  He has a quarterback rating of 27.5.

Fancher has completed 16 of 27 passes for 121 yards with one touchdown. He has a QBR of 14.8.

Louisiana has had a similar situation to Marshall in that they’ve had to use two quarterbacks this season. Chandler Fields and Ben Wooldridge have been leading the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Fields has completed 54 of 95 passes for 608 yards and seven touchdowns with three interceptions, with a QBR of 29.3, while Wooldridge has had a QBR of 48.8. Wooldridge has completed 48 of 74 passes for 440 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

Huff said Louisiana has championship DNA regardless of their record during a press conference last week.

“They are the defending Sun Belt champs, so they got championship DNA; I don’t care what their record says,” he said. “What you see is a team that has experience; if you look at all of their games, they are in them all the way down till the end.”

Louisiana’s leading rusher Chris Smith has 47 carries for 264 yards and two touchdowns so far this season.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are averaging 25.6 points per game with 1,048 passing yards and 588 rushing yards this season.

Marshall is averaging 29.4 points per game with 996 passing yards and 1,122 rushing yards this season.