Herd prepared for Spartans after tough loss

After suffering its first road loss since December 2013, Marshall University’s football team heads back to Joan C. Edwards Stadium 3:30 p.m. Saturday to face Norfolk State University.

This weekend’s match will be the first meeting all-time between the Herd (1-1) and the Spartans (0-2).

Head coach Doc Holliday said despite Norfolk State losing its last five games, including the final three games of last season, his team has to be prepared if it expects to beat the Spartans.

Holliday said one of the team’s main focuses will be stopping dual-threat quarterback Greg Hankerson, who has rushed for just under 100 yards during the first two games of the season.

“He’s talented,” Holliday said. “He’s a pain in the neck, and he can beat you with his feet.”

“We’re going to bounce back as a team, and come back and work even harder.””

— Devon Johnson

Holliday added that while his defense will have its hands full, it is the Herd’s offense that will have to be much more productive than it was in its loss to Ohio University.

Running back Devon Johnson said the loss was a wake-up call for the entire team but especially the offense.

“I believe we needed it,” Johnson said. “We’re going to bounce back as a team, and come back and work even harder.”

Clint Van Horn, the Herd’s starting right tackle, said the offense has to do a better job of being mentally focused compared to its game against Ohio.

“Our defense played extremely hard last week, and we didn’t have their back,” Van Horn said.

Saturday’s game will be the final of Norfolk State’s three straight FBS games to open the year. The Spartans are 0-9 all-time against FBS teams, including losses to Rutgers University and Old Dominion University to begin the season.

Malcolm Walton can be contacted at [email protected]