Marshall: The Thundering Herd dropped their first game of the 2013 season last week, losing a tight, back-and-forth battle with Ohio. The Bobcats got on the board first with 9:14 remaining in the first quarter on a 4-yard pass from Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton to Troy Hill to put the home team up 7-0. The Thundering Herd responded just over 5 minutes later on a Kevin Grooms 1-yard run. Ohio kicked a field goal midway through the second and then tackled on a touchdown on a fumble recovery by Toran Davis in the end zone on a kickoff to extend their lead to 10. But the Herd would get 3 of those points back before half on a 22-yard Justin Haig field goal to cut the margin to 17-10 going into half. Ohio, however, would extend their lead early in the third with a Beau Blankenship 3-yard run. Marshall would again answer just over 5 minutes later with a Essray Taliaferro 3-yard run to cut the deficit to 7. But the Bobcats would again score on a Beau Blankenship run from 2-yards out to open up the fourth, making it 31-17. Marshall answered quickly on a 38-yard strike from Rakeem Cato to Gator Hoskins a minute and a half later to pull back within a touchdown. The Bobcats made it a two-score game with 2:46 left when Matt Green kicked a 29-yard field goal to make it 34-24. While Marshall added a touchdown late to make it interesting on a 1-yard Cato run, the Bobcats held on 34-31. The Herd out-gained the Bobcats by over 100 yards (482-339), but also committed four turnovers.
Trends: Virginia Tech has won their last seven games against Marshall, including their last match up in Huntington in 2011 by the score of 30-10. The Hokies got on the board first midway through the first quarter with a 5-yard Logan Thomas run. They added to it several minutes later with a 3-yard David Wilson run, though Cody Journell missed the PAT. The Thundering Herd opened up the second quarter by kicking a field goal just seconds in, making it 13-3 in favor of the visitors. Josh Oglesby extended the Hokies' lead with a 4-yard rush just over four minutes later to make it 20-3 in the Hokies favor. Cody Journell also tacked on a field goal from 41-yards just a minute and change before half. The Herd then got their only touchdown of the day on a 29-yard pass from Rakeem Cato to Aaron Dobson, bringing Marshall within 10 points. After a completely scoreless third quarter, Josh Oglesby punched it in just a minute into the fourth to provide the final margin, a 30-10 Virginia Tech victory. David Wilson and Josh Oglesby both had good days, combining for 207 yards and 3 TD's. Logan Thomas had a solid day for a young quarterback, completing 22-of-33 passes for 229 yards and an interception. Danny Coale led the Hokies in receiving with 7 catches for 107 yards.
History Lesson: The following information is all provided via Hokiesports.com. Virginia Tech has played Marshall 11 times, holding a 9-2 record against the Thundering Herd. Beamer has faced Marshall four times while at Virginia Tech, going 4-0. He has gone up against head coach Doc Holliday once (in 2011), beating him in that only match up. The Hokies also hold a 3-0 mark against Marshall at Lane Stadium and a 5-0 mark in Blacksburg. Tech is 3-0 in the series when both teams are unranked. Tech won the first game of the series in 1913 by the score of 47-0. The only 2 losses of the series for the Hokies came in consecutive years, 1939-1940 in Huntington, W.Va. The Hokies have shut out the Herd twice: once in 1913 and the other time in 1953. The Thundering Herd have shut out the Hokies once, coming in the 1939 Herd victory. The average score of the series is a 29-11 Virginia Tech advantage (rankings data dates back to 1950, the earliest year of Hokiesports' poll of choice, the Coaches' Poll).
What to Expect
The Thundering Herd run an air raid spread offense.
On defense, new coordinator Chuck Heater runs a 4-3 scheme.
The Thundering Herd are tied for No. 20 nationally in total offense with 527.3 yards per game. They have scored 46 points per game, which ranks No. 12 in the nation.
Marshall ranks No. 21 in passing offense so far in 2013 with 312.7 yards per game through the air.
The Herd ranks No. 41 nationally with 214.7 yards per game on the ground.
Defensively, the Thundering Herd are giving up 252.7 yards per game, good for No. 5 nationally. They also are tied for No. 23 in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 16 points per game.
In rushing defense, Marshall is No. 6 nationally, allowing only 67 yards per game. Through the air, they've allowed 185.7 yards per game, good for a No. 32 ranking in the nation.
Rakeem Cato has passed for 849 yards on 68-107 passing with 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions so far this season.
Running back Steward Butler leads the team with 284 yards on the ground with 3 touchdowns.
The Thundering Herd's top receiver is Tommy Shuler, who has caught 23 balls for 247 yards and 2 touchdowns so far.
Hokies Win If: They limit the Thundering Herd's passing game and doesn't allow Rakeem Cato to make plays with his feet and take care of the football on offense.
Thundering Herd Win If: Tech can't stop the passing game, turns the ball over, can't convert on third down and allows them to be more than one dimensional.
Dot-dot-dots: Tech is going for program win No. 700 on Saturday. If they win, they would be one of only 15 teams in the FBS to have that many wins. Frank Beamer is in sixth place all-time in wins among FBS coaches with 260. He needs 39 more to pass Joe Paterno, who now stands at 298 wins after 111 wins were vacated from his record. Individually, Logan Thomas is now the all-time leading-passer in Virginia Tech history in both passing attempts (946) and completions (513). With the win over ECU, Thomas moved into fouth place all-time at Virginia Tech in wins for a quarterback with 20. He needs six more wins to move into a tie for second place all-time with Bryan Randall with 26 wins. Thomas also passed Bryan Randall for second all-time in passing yards in Virginia Tech history against ECU, now standing at 6,613 yards, just 404 yards behind Tyrod Taylor for first all-time (7,017 yards). Thomas now is only 394 yards behind (7,640) Bryan Randall (8,034) for second all-time in total yardage. He is also third all-time in rushing touchdowns among Virginia Tech quarterbacks, with 20, 3 behind Tyrod Taylor for first all-time. Thomas also has 40 passing touchdowns, good for fifth all time at Tech, just 8 behind Bryan Randall for the all-time record. Brandon Facyson is tied for the most interceptions in the nation through the first three games with 3. He is also just one interception behind the record for a freshman under Beamer (Eric Green with 4). The Hokies are 4-4 all-time on September 21.