Marshall's oft-struggling defense will try to keep Memphis' oft-struggling offense from awakening. The Tigers barely topped 200 total yards against SMU, and have fumbled 24 times (losing 14 of them) in eight games. That has put the Tigers in the minus column in turnover margin despite quarterback Jacob Karam throwing just two interceptions.
The Herd defense, which gives up 233.5 rushing yards per game, has prepared for a wrinkle-filled attack that leans on several option packages.
"They do a lot of funky stuff, try to get you out of place," MU defensive end Jeremiah Taylor said of the Tigers. "They bring a lot of backside cutters to chop the D-end. We've got to make sure we push the pocket and disrupt things up front so the linebackers and safeties fit and just flow and destroy things."
Plummeting toward their fourth double-digit-loss season in a row, it's tough to gauge the Tigers' will and effort this afternoon. There should be no question how Marshall comes out, as there is much to play for.
A 3-1 finish still means a bowl bid. A 4-0 finish means a 6-2 conference record, a best for the Herd in C-USA. A win carries regained confidence heading into another game against a one-win team (UAB).
In other words, the Herd needs to charge out of the gate like it wanted to last week against UCF, but with better focus.
"Do we need to be energized? Yes," Legg said. "Do we need to be focused? Yes. Do we need to be intense? Yes. But there has to a sense of control."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.