Tulsa defense in general (big plays): After throttling Fresno State in the second half the previous week, the Hurricane yielded 11 double-digit yardage plays at Alabama-Birmingham, most a lot more than 10 yards. The first play of the contest: A 75-yard touchdown pass.
Stats 'n' such
In the stat rankings: MU's Cato is third in the nation and first in C-USA in total offense (390.2), and also leads the league in pass efficiency rating (144.69). Tommy Shuler leads the nation in receptions (51) and is third in average per game (10.2). Shuler leads the league in that category, and in receiving yards per game (106.8). ... The Herd is third nationally in passing yardage (394.6), and leads the league in that, total offense (555.6), net punting (43.22), pass efficiency rating (145.81), third-down conversions (54.0 percent) and first downs (153). MU is last in the league and nation in scoring defense (44.4), tied for last in C-USA in first downs against (138) and 11th in C-USA in total defense (495.8), sacks (four in five games, 0.8) and penalty yardage (75.4). ... Tulsa leads the FBS in sacks (5.2) and tackles for loss (10.6). It leads the league in rushing offense (244.8), scoring offense (42.0), rushing defense (104.6), total defense (338.0) and sacks allowed (0.8). Trey Watts leads C-USA in all-purpose running (153.0), while DeAundre Brown is tied for first in sacks (1.0).
Milestones: Cato is approaching the top 10 in many Marshall career categories, but may be the closest in touchdown passes. He is 11th with 30, five behind Eric Kresser (1996). Aaron Dobson has 23 career touchdown receptions, tying him for fifth with Tim Martin (1993-95), Josh Davis (2001-04) and Cody Slate (2006-09). The next one ties him for fourth with Troy Brown (1991-92). ... Dobson is 26 yards from hitting 2,100, held by 10th-place Sean Doctor (1987-88). Dobson is 14th in receptions (140) and Antavious Wilson is tied for 11th (143), and could tie Doctor for 10th if they reach 147.
21/2 Sacks for either side. If Marshall's offensive line goes under it's a victory. If MU's defense goes over it's a miracle.
18 Number of MU rushes minus Cato incompletions. If Tulsa cheats toward the pass, expect Cato to read it and hand off - and then the Herd's offensive line still has to contend with a solid front four. (If you're wondering, that equation computed to exactly zero last week at Purdue).
Completely useless trivia
This is the 111th homecoming game at Marshall, a tradition traced back to Nov. 28, 1895. The Herd is 58-48-8 all-time in homecoming games and is riding a two-game winning streak. One trend Herd fans hope goes away: This is just the third time the homecoming game has fallen in the first seven days of October, and the Herd has lost the previous two - 1983 vs. Western Carolina (21-7) and 2009 against East Carolina (21-17).
Marshall gets the week off at a seemingly appropriate time - after the sixth game of a 12-week season. The Herd then plays Oct. 20 at Southern Mississippi. ... Tulsa faces a tight turnaround, taking on Texas-El Paso at home at 8 p.m. Thursday on Fox Sports Net.