HUNTINGTON - Marshall's upcoming opponent has dozens and dozens of Texans on its roster, to the surprise of nobody. These days, the Thundering Herd has one.
Defensive end Arnold Blackmon, come on down.
Blackmon hails from Bellaire, Texas, a suburb perched on Houston's I-610 West Loop. After his high school graduation, he played two years at Navarro College, located more toward Dallas.
On Saturday, the improving-by-the-down reserve and his teammates take on Texas-San Antonio, with a 2 p.m. kickoff. That will give Blackmon, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound junior, a taste of home.
Sort of. He has been to San Antonio, but knows how removed it really is from the Lone Star State's other population centers. It's a big state, you know.
"You would think it's all right next to each other," Blackmon said. "But once you take those drives, you understand."
Before the season, Blackmon seemed to be as far away as taking a spot on the first team, what with Jeremiah Taylor and Alex Bazzie ruling those starting end spots.
But he and redshirt freshman Gary Thompson were groomed to take more and more snaps per game, and they played a key role two weekends ago at Virginia Tech.
Add in the injury to nose tackle Brandon Sparrow, and that was a recipe for another disaster against the physical Hokies.