Herd attempts to capture fifth consecutive win


Richard Crank

Marshall University sophomore tight end Ryan Yurachek catches a touchdown pass during its game against the University of Southern Mississippi Oct. 9.


Marshall University’s football team looks to continue its win streak Saturday as it travels to Boca Raton, Florida to face Florida Atlantic University.

With the Owls’ defense allowing just over 240 passing yards per game, which is sixth in Conference USA, Marshall wide receiver Deandre Reaves said the team will attempt to attack Florida Atlantic through the air as it has with its opponents in recent weeks.

“They play a middle field open, two safeties high defense,” Reaves said. “Just like we saw last week, the middle of the field is going to be open, so we’re going to try to attack the open areas.”

Florida Atlantic is second in defensive pass efficiency in C-USA, behind Marshall, and the Owls are tied for 10th in the nation in red zone defense.

For a team ranked ranked 10th in passing offense in C-USA, getting into the endzone may be troublesome.

On the other side of the ball, Marshall has the No. 1 scoring defense in C-USA, holding its opponents to 17.5 points per contest.

Linebacker Evan McKelvey said with the defense stepping up more this season, players are noticing a difference in the team’s identity.

“This is actually a first since I’ve been here,” McKelvey said. “It’s always been about the offense. We always get props from the offense, but to hear the fans talk about the defense, it’s a good thing.”

McKelvey said the Herd’s defense, which is ranked fourth in the nation in defensive passing efficiency, will look to force the Owls’ 240-pound quarterback Jaquez Johnson to do more passing than running.

“He’s big, but we’ve played against big schools so size isn’t really a problem for us,” McKelvey said. “We’ve got to focus on making him a passer so that his size doesn’t matter that much.”

Kickoff is set for noon at Florida Atlantic University Stadium.

Ishamel Witten can be contacted at [email protected]