Marshall (2-0) at Ohio (1-1)
8 p.m., Peden Stadium (24,000, FieldTurf), Athens, OhioTV: ESPNewsCrew: Eamon McAnaney play-by-play, Anthony Becht analystLine: Marshall by 8Series: Ohio leads 31-19-6Last meeting: Ohio 27, Marshall 24, Sept. 15, 2012 at HuntingtonTickets: Less than 100 left as of Thursday afternoon, $35; standing-room tickets $20 if/when put on saleWeather: Clear and cool, 58 at kickoff
On the spotJarquez Samuel, Marshall defensive tackle: The 6-foot-4, 276-pound sophomore will be welcomed to the big stage today, as he is expected to start for injured senior Brandon Sparrow. That would be his first career start, and he likely will go up against center Lucas Powell, making his second start. Samuel, James Rouse and the other Herd tackles need to exploit the absence of Ohio guards Jon Lechner and Sam Johnson, who were injured in the Bobcats' opener against Louisville.Tyler Tettleton, Ohio quarterback: He'll get his 200-plus yards passing and sneak in a few first downs with his legs, but he will face Marshall's best secondary and linebacking corps in his career, and he might actually take a sack or two.Mike McQueen and Mike Lucas, Ohio guards: The replacements for the aforementioned Lechner and Johnson.
Stats 'n' suchLast week, Steward Butler became the first Marshall runner to top 100 rushing yards in two straight games since Darius Marshall in 2009 (203 vs. Memphis, 141 vs. East Carolina). Actually, Marshall had four 100-yard games in a row - those two were preceded by 109 vs. Virginia Tech and 186 vs. Bowling Green. ... Among Marshall's top five tacklers this year, three did not play in 2012: team leader Neville Hewitt (13), Corey Tindal (nine) and Darryl Roberts (eight).In the rankings: Brace yourself on this one - the Herd is No. 7 in the nation in total defense, giving up 211.5 yards per game. Scoff at the competition, but last year's MU team couldn't have done that against air. MU is tied for ninth in scoring defense (7.0), tied for seventh in turnover margin (plus-2.5) and is 11th against the run (70.5). Offensively, the Herd is sixth in first downs (60). ... Individually, Butler is 15th in rushing yards with 258.Milestones: In Rakeem Cato's continuous climb up the MU career charts, he has 6,743 passing yards, putting him sixth behind John Gregory (7,020) and Todd Donnan (7,050). He is fifth with 58 TD passes, behind Donnan (61). In total offense, Cato is fifth behind Donnan (7,057). And Cato maintains the highest completion rate, with his 65.9 percent mark topping Byron Leftwich's 65.1 percent. ... Tommy Shuler has 138 receptions for 16th place, and could catch Troy Brown (139), LaVorn Colclough (142) and Sean Doctor (147).
87 Official offensive plays, by either team. Strange stat of the 2012 game: Both teams ran 87 plays apiece.
50 Ohio's advantage in rushing yards. After getting out-pounded 199-59 last year and 271-172 in 2011, it would be refreshing for the Herd to get in the same area code in this stat.
1 Marshall sack on Tettleton. It would be a first.
Completely useless trivia
Beware, for we are nearing rock bottom with this item: Of the six road games on Marshall's schedule, Peden Stadium is the only waterfront venue. Hey, the Hocking River qualifies!
The quality of competition goes in different directions next week. Marshall heads to Virginia Tech, a most unfriendly venue in three trips since 2002, for a noon game next Saturday on a network to be named. Ohio won't be so stressed, remaining at home to take on Austin Peay in a 2 p.m. mismatch.