And the defense must keep one very good quarterback from ringing up seven touchdowns Saturday. No matter what Marshall does at QB, it cannot win a scorefest at Houston.
My two or three cents on conference realignment, as the Big East tries to pluck up to five schools from the new Mega-Conference USA:
I am amazed how short memories are or how needy the Big East is, after years of contorting itself to stave off new applicants. As of Sunday, the league seems to have invited, denials aside, Boise State and Air Force from the Mountain West, Central Florida, Houston and Southern Methodist from C-USA, and Navy.
These days, all seem attractive. But are some of these football programs the flavor of the month, riding a crest that's sure to subside?
Let's examine where these programs are, and where they were five to 10 years ago:
Major bonus points for Thunderbirds/Blue Angels flyovers.
O'Leary came to clean up a heck of a mess eight years ago, and had to suffer an 0-11 season in 2004 before rebounding.
These guys are making a BCS-busting run at the right time, for certain.
Coach June Jones has reversed a culture that saw the Mustangs go 0-12 in 2003, and 1-11 in 2007 and 2008. As recently as 2006, SMU listed an average attendance of 15,428.
Having been there that year, I know that figure was fudged.
Basketball legend Russell Lee returned to Marshall for homecoming. He said he last came for his MU Hall of Fame induction in 2003.
I remember doing a lengthy story on him then, but was it really eight years ago?
Working for the Walmart Corp. out of Atlanta, he isn't waiting eight years for his next visit. He is coming to town Feb. 2 to witness the demolition of the Memorial Field House, where he thrilled packed houses in the early 1970s.
He likes Cam Henderson Center well enough. He loved watching coach Tom Herrion's team practice. But as he spoke Saturday in the MU football pressbox, he cast a sentimental eye to the Field House, visible five blocks away.
"The thing I liked about it was the crowd, they were right down on the floor, and I felt sorry for the visiting teams, because it was hard for them to listen to what the coach had to say with all the cheering and yelling," Lee said. "Because they were right on the players."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.