HUNTINGTON - Here is the harshest reality of Marshall football these days: Its special teams are such that they can't overlook anybody, anytime, anywhere.
With the notable exception of freshman punter Tyler Williams' lively leg, the Thundering Herd kicking units likely will be an underdog against the rest of the schedule. That won't change with the upcoming game against Alabama-Birmingham at 4:30 p.m. EST Saturday at Legion Field.
At 2-7 (1-4 Conference USA), the Blazers have struggled in their 17th season of Division I-A/FBS football, but have enjoyed several special-teams highlights, such as:
He hit two game-winning field goals in 2011, against Central Florida and Southern Mississippi.
The memory of Marshall's last game-winning field goal has faded into black - was it Willy Merrick's national championship kick of 1992, or does it just seem that way?
Whatever the case, Justin Haig is about as consistent as Long, but doesn't have the leg. He is 8 of 11 and has hit all three attempts from 40 yards or closer, but the long is just 44 - and that's a big reason why the Herd (4-5, 3-2) went for it on fourth-and-6 from the Memphis 31-yard line last weekend. (That worked out OK, with Rakeem Cato's 31-yard touchdown pass to Davonte Allen.)
Unlike Williams, Mullins has the 3.6 punts per game needed to qualify for the NCAA rankings. It must be noted, however, that with UAB's productive offense, Mullins won't punt nearly as much as, say, Memphis' Tom Hornsey.