Strong safety Kevin Byard is already a defensive star as a redshirt freshman, and weak-side linebacker T.T. Barber leads the team in tackling and other mayhem-related categories.
If nothing else, the Raiders are at the top of the league and among the nation's best in turnovers forced (20) and sacks (18). They will blitz from everywhere.
"They give you a lot of stuff to think about, that's the biggest thing," said Bill Legg, MU's offensive coordinator. "They give you a ton of things to think about. From a decision-making standpoint, we're going to be on point, we've got to be smart in what we're doing and we've got to go from there."
Marshall enters the game, just its third in 33 days, a confident bunch. The Herd has won its last two games in different fashions - pelting Texas-San Antonio 34-10 at home, then winning that squeaker at FAU.
Always confident in the passing game, Herd players feel they've regained the edge in their running game after struggling in the first half at FAU. They rushed for 103 yards after halftime in that game after grinding out 125 for the whole game against a sturdy UTSA front.
One thing to keep an eye on: Kevin Grooms is ever closer to 100 percent for the first time all season.
"It's been difficult for all of us mentally because he is a good player and he is very explosive," Holliday said. "You want to see him back to where he was. I saw a little bit of it at FAU, and he has had a week and a half since then. He's going to be a whole lot healthier going into Thursday night than what he has been."
Defensively, the Herd is as confident as it has been in several years, and has the stat rankings to back it up - leading C-USA in scoring defense (18.3 points), total defense (301.5 yards) and pass defense efficiency rating by a large margin (98.9 vs. 110.3 for the nearest team). Add to that the third-down conversion rate (30.9 percent, compared to 44.8 percent in 2012).
These guys have played a number of mobile offenses, but they'll take on a pure pocket passer in Kilgore.
"Whatever they come out in, with our defense, I think our guys will be ready to make any adjustments," said defensive end Alex Bazzie. "I don't think there will be anything surprising. We can't let it be surprising; anything they throw at us, we've got to make a fast adjustment to."
And Herd players aren't too worried about that "blackout."
"We're ready," said tight end Gator Hoskins.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.