Marshall had its troubles with Johnson, who led the Owls in rushing with 78 yards and a TD that October evening. A 22-yard run ignited a touchdown drive to start the second half, giving FAU a 10-7 lead, and he scored on an easy 1-yard run to put FAU up 23-14.
Still ahead 23-21, Johnson gained two first downs before the Herd finally stopped him and got the ball back for a game-winning field-goal drive.
Johnson is a beefier runner, much like Virginia Tech's big Logan Thomas, who gained 58 yards and scored twice against the Herd. But Brown isn't small or shy of contact himself, and he seems to have regained his speed from a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in the 2012 preseason.
"They run all the zone-read plays, all the spread offense plays, all the 'cute' plays," Heater said. "Of course, he can scramble when he's back in the pocket and it all breaks down."
Ross is a 5-10, 210-pound sophomore who averages a solid 4.5 yards per game. The Terrapins lost their two top receivers in the seventh game, Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, so Levern Jacobs (40 receptions, 540 yards, 2 TDs), Nigel King (31-428, 4 TDs) and Amba Etta-Tawo (29-449, 2 TDs) have had to pick up the slack.
Kevin Goins (5-9, 225) and Tyler Cierski (5-11, 260) provide punch in two-back formations behind a line with veterans in guard De'Onte Arnett (6-4, 295, senior) and center Sal Conaboy (6-4, 285, junior).
"They're a pretty salty, seasoned group," Heater said.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.