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Herd football still fighting for bowl eligibility

The Parthenon

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 00:11

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Marcus Constantino | The Parthenon

Tight end Gator Hoskins and wide receiver Aaron Dobson celebrate a Hoskins’ touchdown in the Herd’s 59-14 win against UAB last season on Oct. 29, 2011. If Marshall wins in Birmingham on Saturday it would be one win away from bowl eligibility.

For the second year in a row, Doc Holliday’s Marshall Thundering Herd is fighting for a bowl bid as the home stretch of the season approaches.

The Herd (4-5, 3-2 in Conference USA) is set to face the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. With a 2-7 overall record and a 1-4 conference record, the Blazers are out of the bowl contention and essentially have nothing to lose going into Saturday’s contest.

On the other hand, the Herd is still in the hunt for a bowl game. Marshall helped its bowl hopes last weekend with a much-needed 38-28 win over the Memphis Tigers at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

With only three games left in the season, the Herd has everything to lose.

 “We’ve got to worry about ourselves. We’ve got a lot to play for,” Marshall Head Coach Holliday said. “I mentioned last week, we had four shots, and now we’re down to three shots. A lot of good things can happen for this football team but you’ve got to take them one at a time. In shot number one, we took care of Memphis. We did what we had to do. Now it’s important that all the focus goes on UAB and all our preparation and all our efforts have to go into that game.”

Holliday said his team must be prepared for a strong offensive attack from the Blazers. UAB leads Conference USA in red zone offense, scoring on 31 of 34 opportunities in the red zone, including 24 touchdowns and a perfect seven field goals out of seven attempts.

The Blazers also lead the conference in the number of on-side kick attempts (5), recoveries (3) and recovery percentage (60 percent).

Marshall sophomore quarterback Rakeem Cato said the Memphis game, in which the Tigers controlled the ball for 37:37 compared to Marshall’s 22:23 of offense, gave his team preparation for what it can expect Saturday.

“We have to lock in and focus on that stuff, knowing that people are really going try to do that to us and try to get the ball back and keep the offense off the field,” Cato said. “We just have to focus more and execute more.”

One week after Saturday’s contest at UAB, the Herd will play the Houstan Cougars (4-5, 3-2 in C-USA) on Nov. 17 in its last game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium for the 2012 season. Marshall will close out its season at East Carolina (6-4, 5-1 in C-USA) on Nov. 23.

Marcus Constantino can be contacted at constantino2@marshall.edu.
 

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