He has thrown for 16 TDs this year but has run for just five, and his total yardage had stepped back to 208.9 yards per game. His first run of the season was a biggie, a 57-yarder against, yes, Texas A&M.
But he has become the second Rice QB to top 2,000 passing yards in two seasons, and the first to lead the team to consecutive bowl berths. As with Rice's large senior class, he continues to shine in all the intangibles.
"Outside of the game, he's stepped up in his leadership role," said Jordan Taylor, the Owls' leading receiver. "He's just so much more aware of what's going on with pressures and blitzes. He has immensely improved, and his throwing has improved."
And he has a sturdy running game behind him. Sure, McHargue has netted 432 yards on the ground and can still improvise, but he also has 1,143-yard rusher Charles Ross and others to hand off to.
"He's a big guy," McHargue said of Ross. "He's every bit of 230, 235 [pounds]. He just wears on teams; by the third or fourth quarter, teams are tired of tackling him."
McHargue does not see another 54-51 game on Saturday. He doesn't see a lot of 40-yard zigzags against the retooled Herd defense.
"Honestly, it's a different Marshall team than last year," he said. "They're playing a lot better defense this year. [Marshall quarterback Rakeem] Cato's got the offense operating effectively; they were powerful on offense last year and it turned into a shootout.
"We're prepared for that if we have to, but our defense is also playing better. I don't think we're expecting a shootout."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.