Marshall heads to the Liberty Bowl this weekend to face conference foe Memphis. The Thundering Herd are coming off a 17 – 10 win over Bowling Green while Memphis handled Tennessee-Martin 41 – 14.
So how do you beat the Memphis Tigers? Since joining C-USA Marshall and Memphis have played four times, each team winning two games at home. Getting a win on the road in this series, or any C-USA road game for that matter, will be a formidable task.
Besides their blow out win over UT-Martin Memphis has struggled this season, losing to Middle Tennessee 31 – 14 and Mississippi 45 – 14. During both of those contest Memphis gave up a total of 338 rushing yards which brings me to Marshall’s first key to victory, run the football. Just like last week the Herd will need a strong performance from star running back Darius Marshall. Memphis’s defense has been porous against the run. If Marshall can run effectively and control the clock it would go a long way towards victory.
Memphis quarterback Tyler Bass had a break out performance against UT-Martin, throwing for 293 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 80 more yards plus another TD. Marshall’s second key to victory is shutting down Bass. The Herd has had trouble with mobile quarterbacks (see Joe Webb UAB Tyrod Taylor VT) but MU’s defense made great strides against BGSU. It will be vital for Albert Mcclellan to get in Bass’s face and disrupt his rhythm. Even though Bass had a great performance against UT-Martin it was only his first college start. A strong pass rush will surely rattle the young quarterback.
Marshall’s final key to victory centers around the wide receivers. Brain Anderson needs to find a reliable target with Troy Evans season ending injury and Courtney Edmonson’s continued absence. Marshall’s leading wide receivers Chuck Walker and Antavio Wilson are barely averaging forty yards receiving per game. Cody Slate is a great tight end but Anderson needs another set of reliable hands on the field. If Wilson can build on last weeks strong performance or Walker regains hisweek one form look for Marshall’s offense to catch fire.
Key’s to Victory:
1. Run the Ball
2. Shut down Bass
3. Wide Receivers Step Up