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2010 Marshall Thundering Herd Game Preview

Discussion in 'News' started by Buckeyeskickbuttocks, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. Buckeyeskickbuttocks

    Buckeyeskickbuttocks Z --> Z^2 + c Staff Member

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    2010 Marshall Thundering Herd Game Preview
    written by: BB73, Buckeyeskickbuttocks, Bucklion, BuckyKatt, DaddyBigBucks, JCOSU86, and jwinslow

    Preface
    Welcome back, college football season, it's about time you got here!

    With the Buckeyes coming in at #2 in the major presason polls, let's look at what happened in other seasons where tOSU was ranked #2 before the games were played.

    Previous years in which tOSU was AP #2 in the Preseason
    1961 - Final tOSU rank was #2, Alabama finished #1 after starting at #3
    1973 - Final tOSU rank was #2, Notre Dame ended #1 after starting at #8
    1974 - Final tOSU rank was #4, Oklahoma ended #1 after starting at #1
    2003 - Final tOSU rank was #4, USC was AP #1 after starting at #8, BCS Champ LSU started at #14
    2008 - Final tOSU rank was #9, Florida ened #1 after starting at #5

    There are several categories related to the history of the AP poll in which Ohio State is first or second. The weekly AP poll began in 1936, but the preseason AP poll didn't debut until 1950. The Buckeyes have several impressive achievements relating to the AP polls.

    Most years ranked in the AP preseason poll (out of 61 since 1950):
    57 - Ohio State
    52 - Oklahoma
    50 - USC
    49 - Notre Dame
    48 - Texas
    44 - Alabama
    43 - Michigan
    43 - Penn St
    41 - Nebraska

    Most consecutive times ranked in the AP preseason poll, ACTIVE streak:
    22 - Ohio St (the record is 33 seasons, see next category)
    12 - Texas
    11 - Oklahoma
    10 - LSU
    09 - Georgia
    09 - USC
    07 - Florida
    06 - Va Tech
    05 - Penn St
    03 - Alabama
    03 - Oregon

    Most consecutive times ranked in the AP preseason poll, FORMER streak:
    33 - Nebraska (NR in '03)
    33 - Penn St (NR in '01)
    28 - Oklahoma (NR in '96)
    25 - Florida St (NR in '08)
    24 - Alabama (NR in '85)
    22 - Michigan (NR in '08)

    Most consecutive seasons being AP ranked, ACTIVE streak (any time during the season):
    43 - Ohio St (the record is 45 seasons, see next category)
    34 - Fla St
    31 - Florida
    18 - Va Tech
    17 - Texas
    14 - Georgia
    14 - Wisconsin
    13 - Oregon
    12 - Oklahoma
    11 - Auburn
    11 - LSU (every team on this list is already ranked in 010)

    Most consecutive seasons being AP ranked, FORMER streak (any time during the season):
    45 - Alabama (NR in '04)
    43 - Notre Dame (NR in '07)
    41 - Nebraska (NR in '04)
    40 - Michigan (NR in '08)

    Most times ranked AP #1 in the preseason:
    9 - Oklahoma
    7 - Ohio State
    6 - Nebraska
    6 - USC
    5 - Fla St
    5 - Notre Dame
    3 - Alabama
    3 - Florida
    3 - Miami
    2 - Michigan
    1 - Auburn, Georgia, Iowa, LSU, Mich St, Ole Miss, Penn St, Pitt, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCLA

    Most times ranked in the weekly AP poll (2010 preseason is poll #1006)
    770 - Ohio State
    757 - Michigan
    712 - Notre Dame
    690 - USC
    689 - Oklahoma
    673 - Texas
    655 - Nebraska
    646 - Alabama
    579 - Penn St
    564 - Tennessee
    518 - Florida

    Most times ranked in the weekly AP Top-10 (out of 1006 polls)
    513 - Ohio State
    510 - Oklahoma
    500 - Nebraska
    496 - Notre Dame
    488 - Michigan
    452 - USC
    440 - Texas
    410 - Alabama
    353 - Penn St

    Thursday kicks off the 121st season of football at Ohio State, who have won 31 straight home openers. The last such loss was in 1978 when #6 Ohio State dropped a 19-0 decision to #5 Penn State in Woody Hayes' final season as head coach. Ohio State has an all-time opening day record of 104-12-4. The Buckeyes' last opening day loss away from Columbus was to Miami in the 1999 Kickoff Classic in East Rutherford, N.J.

    All-time, the Buckeyes are 108-8-4 in home openers since 1890. The largest opening day crowd at Ohio Stadium was 105,092 in the 2009 opener vs. Navy.
    Thursday's opener will be the first time the Buckeyes play a home game on a non-Saturday since beating Wyoming, 24-10, Aug. 28, 1997, in a Thursday night season opener - the last time tOSU began a season after a Rose Bowl appearance. The 1997 season was also the last time that a Rose Bowl MVP (Joe Germaine) returned for a Big Ten team, as Terrelle Pryor is doing.

    In the BCS Era, three previous QBs returned after winning the Rose Bowl MVP: Vince Young (Texas, 2005), Matt Leinart (2004, USC) and Ken Dorsey (2002, Miami). All three quarterbacks led their teams to the BCS title game the season after winning Rose Bowl MVP, with Leinart and Young winning a BCS title. Most of us can recall the BCS Title game in which Ken Dorsey didn't.

    On Thursday tOSU will face Marshall, now a member of Conference USA. The Buckeyes are 11-1-1 all-time against teams currently in Conference USA. The loss and the tie were both against SMU in their pre-death penalty days. When tOSU beat Marshall on Mike Nugent's 55-yard FG at the buzzer in 2004, the Thundering Herd were in their last year as a member of the MAC.

    The previous year had included a milestone victory for Marshall - their upset of Kansas State in Manhattan in 2003 was huge for the program in several regards. It was the highest ranking team ever beaten by a MAC school (#6) and it was also the first time in school history they beat a team in the AP Top 25. The win ended KSU's 41 straight over non-conference opponents and their 39 in a row at home over non-conference foes.

    Bob Pruett was 94-23-0 at Marshall (.803) between 1996 and 2004, going 15-0 and winning a 1-AA Championship in his first year. They had previously won a 1-AA Title under Jim Donnan, defeating Jim Tressel's YSU in the 1992 Championship Game.

    Former tOSU assistant Mark Snyder was 22-37 (.373) from 2005-09, with Rick Minter in an interim role leading the team to their bowl win over Ohio last season. Their new head coach is John 'Doc' Holliday, who played linebacker at West Virginia in the late '70s. He was an assistant under Urban Meyer at Florida from '05-'07, and spent the last two years on Bill Stewart's staff at Holliday's alma mater in Morgantown.

    Last season Ohio State became the first FBS team to beat five teams that finished with at least 10 wins: Iowa (11-2), Penn State (11-2), Wisconsin (10-3), Oregon (10-3) and Navy (10-4).

    OSU has recorded at least 10 wins in each of the last five seasons; the only other FBS teams to match that are Texas and Virginia Tech. The only other Big Ten team to have this long of a run of double-digit victories was Michigan from 1901-05.

    Ohio State is the only FBS team to have finished in the top 10 in the final AP poll in each of the last five seasons. The 5 straight top-10s has only happened once previously in OSU football history ('72-'76). tOSU has appeared in a January bowl game in each of the last five seasons, and the only other FBS team to play in that month in each of the last 5 years is Florida.

    Ohio State enjoyed one of the most successful decades in Big Ten history during the 2000s. The Buckeyes went 102-25 (.803) in the 10 seasons from 2000 through 2009. That was the most wins by any Big Ten team in any decade all-time. The 102 wins tied USC for the fourth-most wins by an FBS team in that span -- Boise State (112-17), Texas (110-19) and Oklahoma (110-24). Among Big Ten teams, Wisconsin had the second-most wins with a record of 86-43 since the 2000 season.

    Much of the Buckeyes' recent success has been driven by the defense. Let's look at some recent accomplishments of the Silver Bullets.

    Ohio State has held 52 opponents to 21 points or fewer since the start of the 2005 season. That is tied with TCU for the most among FBS teams. Virginia Tech is second with 51.

    OSU has allowed 13.4 points per game since the start of the 2005 season. That is the best scoring defense among FBS teams in this span.

    Ohio State has allowed 100 touchdowns overall since the start of the 2005 season. That is the fewest by any FBS team in this span. Virginia Tech has allowed the second-fewest with 107.

    Ohio State has surrendered 39 rushing touchdowns since the start of the 2005 season. That is the fewest among FBS teams in this span. Alabama is second with 41 and Penn State is third with 47 in this span.

    Ohio State has surrendered 53 passing touchdowns since the start of the 2005 season. That is the second-fewest among FBS teams in this span. Only Virginia Tech has surrendered fewer with 48. TCU is third with 54 allowed and Penn State is fourth with 55.

    Ohio State's defensive squads have held opponents to fewer than 21 points 50 times since 2006, the best among FBS teams. The Buckeyes are 47-3 in those games. OSU has allowed fewer than 10 points 25 times since the start of the 2006 season.

    It has been 23 games since the Buckeye defense allowed a 100-yard individual rushing performance; that was by USC's Joe McKnight, who gained 105 yards on 12 carries in the 2008 meeting. That streak is second-longest in the nation, trailing only Alabama (32 games).

    Since the beginning of the 2005 season, the Buckeyes have allowed only seven 100-yard rushers during a span of 65 games. That mark is the best record by an FBS school during that time period.

    The Ohio State defense averaged 5.61 three-and-outs per contest last season, third in the nation in that statistic behind TCU and Alabama. Ohio State had 73 total three-and-outs for the 2009 campaign.

    Later in this preview, we'll look specifically at this year's offense, defense and special teams for both tOSU and Marshall. The preview also has a totally separate section that covers the opponent's coaching staff, recruiting, traditions, and history. It also contains the Behind the Numbers and The Lighter Side sections, and can be accessed via the link at the bottom of this page.
    Date and Time
    Date: Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
    Time: 7:30 pm EDT Kick-off
    Location: Ohio Stadium - "The Horseshoe" (Columbus, OH)
    Constructed: 1922 (Renovated in 2001)
    Seating Capacity: 102,329 (Originally 66,210)
    Playing Surface: FieldTurf
    Events:
    Broadcast Information: TV Broacast: Big Ten Network: Eric Collins (Play-by-play), Chris Martin (Analysis), and Charissa Thompson (Sideline)
    Radio Broadcast: Ohio State Radio Network (WBNS FM 97.1 The Fan in Columbus): Paul Keels (Play-by-play), Jim Lachey (Analysis), and Marty Bannister (Sideline); also on Sirius Radio

    2010 Marshall Thundering Herd Offensive Preview
    The Buckeyes welcome the Marshall Thundering Heard for a special Thursday night showdown. The Herd is coming off of a 2009 season on the upswing, which included a winning record and a bowl victory. New coach Doc Holliday brings the spread offense to Huntington in hopes of reviving a moribund attack that did show some signs of life towards the end of last season. Still, the run-based attack only scored 21 points or less in 8 games last season, and Holliday's scheme should open things up and play to the strengths of the line and experience at QB. For all of their success in the 90s, last season's 7-6 mark was Marshall's first winning record since going 8-4 in 2003, so Holliday will try and make more strides with the offense and with the program in 2010.

    The Marshall offense put up average numbers in 2009, as their 349.1 yards per game ranked 71st nationally. The Herd was 76th in passing (218.9 YPG) and 65th in rushing (142.7 YPG). Their scoring average of 21.8 points per game ranked only T92 nationally, so they will be looking to put more points in the scoreboard in 2010 if they are going to contend for a C-USA division title. They will also need to come up with more 1st downs (244, T66) and move the chains more effectively on 3rd down (39.8%, 40th). The Herd have some pieces in place to significantly improve their offensive production in 2010, but their first game right out of the gate is against one of the best defenses in the country. They will need to play mid-season, mistake-free football if they want to have a chance to stay in the game.
    Quarterbacks
    QB #12 Brain Anderson (6-3, 212, SR, Male HS, Louisville, KY)

    Anderson played sparingly in 2007 and 2008, but he finally got his chance to start in 2009 and has now been elected as a captain by his teammates. Though he didn't quite match the production of Bernard Morris in 2007, he was a significant upgrade over Mark Cann in 2008. He completed 58% of his passes for over 2600 yards and 14 TDs, including throwing for over 300 yards 4 times. One thing that bodes well for Marshall in this game is that arguably, Anderson's best game last year was in the opener, when he completed 75% of his throws for 316 yards and 3 TDs. Of course, that was against Southern Illinois, but there is hope for the Herd that he can come out of the gate strong. He also threw for over 300 against UAB, Southern Miss, and UTEP, and threw for over 200 yards his final 5 games of the regular season. He has good size and good vision, though he was somewhat prone to turnovers (13 INTs) in 2009. He was sacked 24 times, which isn't a huge number for putting up about 400 passes. He is really no threat to run, as his season-high last year was just 21 yards on the ground.

    Backing up Anderson is freshman Eddie Sullivan (#8). Cann (#10), the starter in 2008, is also still on the roster, as is Clemson transfer Willy Korn (#5).
    QB Rating: B-

    Head-to-Head: Marshall QB versus OSU QB

    Anderson (2009): 231/398 (58.0%), 2646 yards, 14 TDs, 13 INTs, 119.0 rating; 64/20, 1 TD

    Pryor (2009): 167/295 (56.6%), 2094 yards, 18 TDs, 11 INTs, 128.9 rating; 162/779, 7 TDs

    The obvious advantage goes to Pryor, whose talent has Big Ten Player of the Year potential and is in position to make a run at the Heisman Trophy. He hopes to build on his Rose Bowl success to have a monster 2010 campaign. Anderson is a solid player who is a leader for the Herd, and he will probably play well under the immense pressure of the Buckeye defense.

    Edge: Ohio State

    Running Backs
    RB #29 Martin Ward (5-9, 201, SO, Mount Zion HS, Jonesboro, GA)
    RB #19 Andre Booker (5-10, 178, SO, Riverview HS, Sarasota, FL)

    The last 2 feature backs have been pretty good. Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for over 1500 yards in his final season in 2006 and Darius Marshall rushed for over 1000 the past 2 seasons. The Herd will be starting over again with some younger players, led by Ward. He has 2 career starts and gained 393 yards as a complimentary back last season. He has good size, good power, and will run behind a very good offensive line. He played extensively at the end of last season, gaining 136 yards against SMU and 57 against UTEP to close the season, followed by 72 yards on just 9 carries with 2 TDs against Ohio in the Little Caesar's Bowl, where he was the game's MVP. He will get every opportunity to establish himself this season and he looks promising to carry on the tradition of strong, underrated backs at Marshall.

    Booker saw very limited action last year, gaining 73 yards. He is a quick back whose role will be significantly expanded this season. Terrell Edwards-Maye (#2), a converted linebacker who gained over 100 yards against SMU last season, could also be in the mix.

    RB Rating: C+

    Head-to-Head: Marshall RB versus OSU RB

    Ward (2009): 82/393 yards, 3 TDs, 4.8 YPC; 4 rec/7 yards, 0 TDs, 1.8 YPR
    Booker (2009): 15/73 yards, 0 TDs, 4.9 YPC; 4 rec/25 yards, 0 TDs, 6.3 YPR

    Herron (2009): 153/600 yards, 7 TDs, 3.9 YPC; 11 rec/66 yards, 1 TD, 6.0 YPR
    Saine (2009): 145/739 yards, 4 TDs, 5.1 YPC; 17 rec/224 yards, 2 TDs, 13.2 YPR

    Marshall is starting fresh with Ward, while the Buckeyes have 2 proven commodities and a ton of talent waiting in the wings. Saine showed flashes of brilliance last season and is also a treat out of the backfield to catch the ball, while Herron will look to bounce back from a limited 2009 to have a big season punishing opponents between the tackles. Depth, experience, and talent level all favor the Buckeyes, but don't be surprised if Ward turns out to be one of the better backs many people have never heard of by the end of 2010.

    Edge: Ohio State

    Wide Receivers
    X-WR #11 Wayne Bonner (6-3, 199, SR, Baldwin HS, Milledgeville, GA)
    Y-WR #4 Troy Evans (5-9, 196, JR, Hayward HS, Oakland, CA)
    Z-WR #82 Antavious Wilson (6-0, 191, SO, Pahokee HS, Pahokee, FL)
    H-WR #84 Chuck Walker (5-10, 197, SR, Hayward HS, Oakland, CA)

    Wilson is already a star in this offense, having gained over 700 yards last season on 60 receptions. He is a burner with good hands who causes matchup problems for opposing secondaries. He finished 2009 with a flourish, gaining 153 yards against both Southern Miss and UTEP while amassing 31 receptions in the final month. With a year under their belts, he and Anderson should be a dynamic tandem in C-USA this season. Walker's production was reasonable last year, with 33 receptions for 350 yards and 3 TDs, including 2 100-yard games (Southern Illinois, UAB).

    Behind Wilson and Walker, however, is a lot of raw talent, as the other 2 starters combined for just 12 receptions in 2009. Bonner caught 8 passes last season and lends senior leadership to the group. Walker and Evans both transferred in from Laney College, so they should also help restock the proverbial cupboard. Evans was hurt most of last year so he should contribute immediately. The leading reserve is sophomore Aaron Dobson (#3), who caught 15 passes last season and was 3rd on the team in yards with 362. Seniors Tavaris Thompson (#87) and Courtney Edmonson (#80) and freshman burner Jermaine Kelson (#28) round out the chart. Edmonson has made 5 starts and was set to be the top wideout in 2009 before a season-ending injury.

    WR Rating: C

    Head-to-Head: Marshall WRs versus OSU WRs

    Wilson (2009): 60 catches, 724 yards, 3 TDs, 12.1 YPR
    Walker (2009): 33 catches, 350 yards, 3 TDs, 10.6 YPR
    Bonner (2009): 8 catches, 89 yards, 0 TDs, 11.1 YPR
    Evans (2009): 4 catches, 17 yards, 0 TDs, 4.3 YPR

    Posey (2009): 60 catches, 828 yards, 8 TDs, 13.8 YPR
    Sanzenbacher (2009): 36 catches, 570 yards, 6 TDs, 15.8 YPR

    Wilson appears to be a star in the making and he should have another big season in wide-open C-USA. Walker will be a key cog to Marshall's 2010 campaign, as they will need at least one more player to provide significant production from the position, as they will go 3 or 4 wide most of the time. For the Buckeyes, they are only 2-deep in proven production, but Posey and Sanzenbacher are deadly on the outside, and Posey is especially a deep threat. They make one of the better tandems in the country and will have as big a year as Pryor's arm will allow them to.

    Edge: Ohio State

    Tight Ends
    TE #16 Lee Smith (6-6, 267, SR, Powell HS, Powell, TN)

    Smith is a monster and certified weapon over the middle. He gained 335 yards last season and was elected as a captain in 2010. He replaces veteran Cody Slate, who caught at least 40 passes in each of his 4 seasons, so 2010 could be a huge year for Smith. He was honorable mention all-conference last season despite being the team's second TE, and he is a pre-season all-C-USA pick this year. He is an excellent blocker and also has excellent hands in the passing game.

    The backup is an incoming freshman form Gainesville, FL, the aptly named Gator Hoskins (#26).

    TE Rating: B+

    Head-to-Head: Marshall TE versus OSU TE

    Smith: 23 catches, 335 yards, 0 TDs, 14.6 YPR

    Stoneburner: 2 catches, 30 yards, 0 TDs, 15.0 YPR

    Smith might turn out to be one of the better TEs in the country this year. All reports from camp are that Stoneburner looks excellent, but given the difference in utilization of the TE by the 2 offenses, the captain gets the edge here.

    Edge: Marshall

    Offensive Line
    LT #73 Ryan Tillman (6-5, 289, JR, Hargrave Military Academy, Centreville, VA)
    LG #68 Landis Provancha (6-5, 314, SR, Sprague HS, Salem, OR)
    C #71 Chad Schofield (6-4, 304, SR, Strongsville HS, Strongsville, OH)
    RG #75 C.J. Wood (6-5, 305, JR, Gainesville HS, Gainesville, FL)
    RT #78 Brandon Campbell (6-5, 312, SR, Friendly Senior HS, Fort Washington, MD)

    Any push for a division title starts up front, and the Herd is in good position with an upperclassman-laden group that returns 3 starters and will be an area of strength. It starts in the middle, where the best of the bunch is probably Ohio product Schofield, who was honorable mention all-conference last season despite an injury late in the year. He has made 18 starts for the Herd and is poised to lead the group in 2010. At the tackles, Tillman (22 starts, last season at LG) and Campbell (16 starts) bring plenty of experience along with their good size and agility. Wood has made 14 starts in his career and Provancha has made 3, so both will man the interior with a solid knowledge of the offense and plenty of experience behind them. Collectively, this unit has combined to start 73 games and they are big, physical linemen who have plenty of experience together as a unit.

    Experienced backups are on-hnad in the form of Chris Bowers (#63; 1 start) in the middle and senior Erik Vint (#67) along the interior. The other backups are all freshmen, including guard Alex Schooler (#74) and tackles Jordan Jeffries (#77) and Garrett Scott (#76).

    OL Rating: B

    Head-to-Head: Marshall OL versus OSU OL

    It appears that the days of Buckeye fans clamoring over weak offensive line play may finally be over. The line controlled most of the 2nd half of last season, and with so many returning players, they are set for a push at a National Title, which may have been the missing ingredient since 2002. Marshall also has a strong, senior-laden line, but in terms of talent and depth, the Buckeyes finally have a comfortable edge.

    Edge: Ohio State

    Overall Offensive Analysis

    The Herd made strides last year after a dismal 2008, but they still have a ways to go on offense. Breaking into the top 50 nationally in most major categories seems like a solid and achievable goal, and would put them in position to contend for a division title in a wide open C-USA. As with any team, turnovers, penalties, and quick punts will not help the Herd, but they will be especially deadly against a team like Ohio State. To stay in the game, Ward has to quickly return to his form at the end of 2009 against a much better front 7 and Anderson has to make good decisions with the football. If they can do that and one or two players can step up in the passing game, the line should be good enough to keep the Herd in the game...at least for a while. How long will depend a lot on how fast the offense can start out of the gate. They had best be ready.

    Overall Offensive Rating: C+


    2010 Marshall Thundering Herd Defensive Preview

    Named Defensive Coordinator in February 2010, Chris Rippon brings 16 years of FBS coaching experience to the table. He is also responsible for coaching the linebackers. Rippon is a 1982 graduate of Southern Connecticut State, where he also played football. While obtaining a masters degree in counseling, Rippon was a graduate assistant at Western Connecticut State under Paul Pasqualoni. When Pasqualoni left for Syracuse in 1987, Rippon was named the head coach, where he remained for three seasons. He left WCS for Boston University where he was the defensive coordinator for three years. Rippon would then join Pasqualoni once more at Syracuse serving first as a linebackers coach. In his 12 years with the Orange he also coached defensive ends, special teams and was defensive coordinator (1999-2003) before being named assistant head coach and special teams coordinator in 2004. He has produced 22 NFL players, 5 of whom were first round picks.

    Rippon inherits a defense which returns 6 starters from last season, led by All Conference USA LB Mario Harvey. Marshall had one of the better Defensive fronts in Conference USA last season, but nonetheless afforded opponents 134.8 yards per game on the ground and 4.3 yards per carry. The secondary yielded 236.9 yards a game and 20 TDs and is an area where improvement will be needed. Improvement, however, will be a tall order inasmuch as Marshall's secondary has been hit hard by graduations and suspensions. If the front 7 have trouble getting to the QB, Marshall's secondary will struggle. Marshall's front recorded 27 sacks last season and held opponents to a 38% third down conversion percentage, but generated only 18 total turnovers (9 fumbles and 9 interceptions - only 2 of which were recorded in Marshall's last 7 contests).

    Defensive Line
    DE #99 Vinny Curry (6-4, 252, Jr.)
    NT #91 Johnny Jones (6-5, 301, Sr.)
    DT #98 Delvin Johnson (6-3, 300, Jr.)
    DE # 92 James Rouse (6-5, 231 Fr.)

    Curry enjoyed a solid first season as a starter in 2009, leading all linemen with 59 tackles, 8.5 of which were behind the line of scrimmage and 3.5 of which were sacks. An honorable mention All C-USA team member a year ago, Curry has bulked up since coming to Marshall and despite the weight gain has a good first step and can collapse a pocket. Rouse replaces outgoing DE Albert McClellan. Rouse has a decent frame and will need to add weight to it, but at 231 should be expected to use a speed game in an attempt to make a name for himself this season. The middle of the line has good bulk. Jones played in 12 games last season, his first as a regular, starting two. While he only made 9 tackles, he also blocked two kicks. He has enough size and strength to jam up the middle of the line but has to demonstrate more backfield presence if he's to take his game to the next level. Johnson is coming back from injury, and despite losing spring reps, has worked his way back in to the projected starting lineup. Before sustaining injury in 2009, he started 3 of the 5 games he would play in, but made just 5 tackles total. Paired with the 300 pound Jones, running up the gut won't be the easiest for most opponents.

    Depth on the line comes from ends: #97 Marques Aiken (6-4, 248, r-Fr.) and #77 DeMetrius Thompson (6-2, 236, Sr.), and tackles; #93 Brandon Bullock (6-3, 361, Jr.), and Michael Janac (6-5, 294, Sr.). Janac was the projected starter at DT coming out of the spring and was an honorable mention on the 2009 All C-USA team. Quick enough for playing end, he can gain penetration and is the subject of double teams most of the time. He had 44 tackles, 3 for loss with 1.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles last season. Bullock is a load at 361 and occupies a great deal of space when he's on the field. While a virtual immovable object, Bullock isn't fleet of foot. But, his size - and the consequent double teams - open up opportunities for others. Aiken redshirted last season and looks to have a solid first season in the rotation. Thompson, though a senior, has been little used during his career and is mostly called upon to be a situational rusher. He had 7 tackles in 8 games last season.?
    ...

    DL Rating: C+

    Head-to-Head: Marshall DL versus OSU DL

    Marshall's line is certainly solid and deep enough to be one of the better C-USA units in 2010. However, when compared to Ohio State, the difference between the two is significant. Ohio State enjoys the services of Cam Heyward who may be the finest lineman in the nation and the dropoff from his ability is not much as one examines his D-Line colleagues. Johnny Simon looks to build on an outstanding 2009 next to Sr. Dex Larimore. While both are strong against the run, both also are able to collapse the pocket and force the issue far more consistently than any of Marshall's interior. If that weren't enough to convince you, we haven't mentioned Nathan Williams yet. Williams has proven to be unblockable at times and brings high energy and effort to every snap. This could be his breakout season, although it appears that Tressel has ruled him out for Thursday's game. Ohio State rotates 8 or more deep and people should keep an eye out for true freshman Johnathan Hankins. The 335 pounder has gained rave reviews during fall camp and could end his career at Ohio State as one of the best to ever wear the uniform. Simply put, up front Marshall, while strong relative to their own conference is out of their league when compared to the Buckeyes. ...

    Edge: Ohio State

    Linebackers
    SLB #25 Devin Arrington (6-2, 207 So.)
    MLB #47 Tyson Gale (6-3, 234, Jr.)
    WLB #30 Mario Harvey (6-0 250, Sr.)

    Harvey is the clear leader of the defense and anchors the LB corps. Nicknamed "Thumper" the speedy and sizable man can bring the wood when making tackles. Which he does quite a bit, recording a team leading 117 last year. Harvey could play LB at just about any school in the nation and will require a great deal of offensive gameplanning attention as they scheme to move the ball against the Herd. Gale appears to have replaced returning starter Kellen Harris in the middle. An outstanding athlete, Gale has been strong on special teams and has a good head for the game to go along with his prototypical size. He is poised to have a breakout season this year, and with Harvey's departure at season's end could be the backbone of Marshall's 2011 campaign. Arrington will be a first year starter in 2010 after playing mostly special teams last season. He came to Marshall as a DB and thus possesses good coverage skills and brings speed to the unit. That said, at 207 lbs he will need to establish himself as a run stuffer.

    Reserves include #43 Trevor Black (6-2, 227, Fr.), #33 T.J. Ross (6-0, 215, Fr.), #35 Kellen Harris (6-3, 232, Jr.), and #48 George Carpenter (5-10, 214, Jr.). Harris made 71 stops as a starter last season and may work his way back into a starting role by the time 2010 is over. He possess good size and speed but has been somewhat overshadowed as a solid but not so flashy a player. Black and Ross are both freshmen who will be trying to establish themselves as reliable options early in their careers. Black reported to Marshall in the spring and the coaches have liked what they've seen from him thus far. Carpenter can be disruptive in spurts, but needs to establish more consistent production.

    LB Rating: B-

    Head-to-Head: Marshall LBs versus OSU LBs

    The LBs are, as a unit, the strongest component of Marshall's defense. However, as with the D-Line, it should come as little surprise that the Buckeyes are the more talented bunch. While Harvey is a good one, his presence alone is insufficient to compel a stronger opinion of Marshall's LB corps. Ohio State, like Marshall, returns two starters out of three with Brian Rolle and Ross Homan. Andrew Sweat appears to have beaten out the heir apparent at the other LB position, Eteinne Sabino. Both will see their fair share of action in any event. Ohio State enjoys superior depth at the position and looks to continue to be able to plug in blue chipper after blue chipper well into the future.

    Edge: Ohio State

    Secondary
    RCB #6 Ahmed Shakoor (5-11, 203, Jr.)
    FS #31 Omar Brown (5-11, 194, Jr.)
    SS #18 Donlad Brown (6-0, 182, So.)
    LCB #15 D.J. Wingate (6-2, 191, Sr.)

    As mentioned above, the Marshall secondary has suffered significant losses from last season to graduation and off the field issues. Two of the individuals dismissed for off the field problems were anticipated starters. Nonetheless, Marshall does return some game experience and won't be starting from square one. Shakoor is a returning starter from last season and will be expected to anchor the DBs this year. He has a big hitter mentality and is capable in pass coverage, having made a team best 11 pass breakups last season. On the other edge is Wingate, a seasoned veteran, though one who disappeared during his junior campaign. He'll need to bring it all in this his final go-around, but there is the risk that he has already achieved his high water mark. Omar Brown had a strong 2009 where he had to step up to replace an injured John Saunders. He ended up third on the team with 73 tackles and hopes to improve on that production this season. Donald Brown, on the other hand, is a true sophomore who the coaches felt was productive enough a special teamer to burn his potential redshirt last season. He has a good foundation to build upon, but much will be learned about him this season as he takes over a starting role in the secondary.

    Backups are corners; #39 Darryl Roberts (5-11, 154, Fr.) and #36 Monterius Lovett (5-10, 166, r-Fr.), and safeties; #22 Kevin Perry (5-10, 192, Sr.), and #49 Pete Culicerto (6-1, 210, Sr.). Perry has a strong work ethic and is a decent tackler who understands the game. He does not possess all the talent in the world, but is a good role model for the younger players and is likely the first DB off the bench. Culicerto played in 6 games last season and more will be expected of him this year. It'll be up to him to meet the challenge or be passed on the depth chart by a group of talented incoming freshman. The reserve corners are raw, and Marshall will suffer growing pains if either of the two starters goes down for any extended period of time. While not a strength in 2010, there is enough depth that Marshall's secondary will be expected to be a strong unit in the years to come.


    DB Rating: C-

    Head-to-Head: Marshall DBs versus OSU DBs

    Ohio State was strong in the middle of the secondary in 2009 with the return of Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell (as well as Jermale Hines) and the opposite is true in 2010 where Ohio State instead returns both starting corners, Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence. Both Chekwa and Torrence have NFL ability and are superior defenders to their Herd counterparts. Despite losing Russell and Coleman from last year's unit, Jermale Hines returns along with new starter CJ Barnett or Ohrian Johnson. Hines started several games last season and may have been a better option than Russell anyway, while both Barnett and Johnson bring vast potential and athleticism to the unit. While you don't get better replacing a 4 year starter in the secondary, Ohio State should still be among the better secondaries in the nation once the 2010 campaign concludes. Of course, a superior D-Line will go a long way in obtaining those results. The difference between Ohio State's starting group, as well as the difference in depth is vast and Ohio State has a clear edge here.

    Edge: Ohio State

    Overall Defensive Analysis

    Marshall fields a defense that will be sound enough for conference play, but that does not place them among the elite in division one football by any stretch. Harvey could play almost anywhere in the nation, but he can't do it all. There may be some communication problems as the defense learns Rippon's particulars, though there hasn't been a change in scheme so the Herd shouldn't suffer too much in this respect. If the front 7 cannot force the issue in opposing backfields, the secondary will prove to be a liability. Ohio State returns 9 starters from 2009, including Heisman hopeful Terrelle Pryor and his two favorite targets Devier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher. Considering Marshall's weakness and lack of depth in the secondary, Pryor may build immediately on his best passing game as a Buckeye, the 2010 Rose Bowl. Ohio State should also find room to run as the D-Line for Marshall, while decent, is still a step below. However, Jim Tressel teams do have a tendency to struggle with identity and timing early in seasons which may keep Marshall in the ball game a little longer than expected. Still, the last time Ohio State returned this much on offense, the Buckeyes stepped on the gas pedal immediately (2006) - 2010 has the potential to be just as explosive.

    Overall Defensive Rating: B-

    2010 Marshall Thundering Herd Special Teams Preview

    The 2010 version of the Marshall Thundering Herd looks to improve on last year's middling effort while dealing with the loss of its top 2 performers. Kicker Craig Ratanamorn, a Lou Groza award finalist graduated and leading return specialist (and rushing leader) Darius Marshall moved on to the NFL. Some talented and experienced leaders return hoping to improve on last year's performances.

    Special Teams

    P #41 Kase Whitehead (5-10, 183, Jr., William Blount HS, Maryville, TN)
    PK 37 Tyler Warner (6-4, 215, Jr., Parkersburg HS, Parkersburg, WV)
    PR/KR #38 Andre Booker (5-10, 178, So., Riverview HS, Sarasota, FL)
    PR/KR #4 Troy Evans (5-9, 196, Jr., Hayward HS, Oakland, CA)
    Hldr #41 Kase Whitehead (5-10, 183, Jr., William Blount HS, Maryville, TN)
    LS #47 Tyson Gale (6-3, 234, Jr., Alva HS, Alva, OK)

    Head-to-Head: Marshall Punt team vs Ohio State Punt Return Team

    Kase Whitehead returns for his 3rd year as a solid if unspectacular punter for the Marshall Thundering Herd. The last 2 years he tied a school record with 63 total punts. Last year's numbers look like this: 68 total punts for 2609 yds, 38.4 avg net. For the Buckeyes, the return teams will be light on experience. Both of last year's leaders - Lamar Thomas on kickoffs and Ray Small on punts - have moved on. The most experienced returners are Brandon Saine and Devier Posey, but it remains to be seen if those two starters will be handling the return duties. The Buckeyes hope to improve on last year's 8.0 avg on punt returns

    Edge: Even

    Head-to-Head: Marshall Kickoff team vs Ohio State Kickoff Return Team

    Marshall Kicker Jr. Tyler Warner takes over the kicking duties for the Thundering Herd. He connected on 3 of 5 FGs subbing for the injured Craig Ratanamorn as a freshman, but didn't attempt a FG last year. He will probably also be the kickoff specialist. The Buckeyes had a dramatic improvement in their kickoff return numbers last year, but as with punting have lost those players to attrition. OSU has not officially announced the starters at the return positions, but a 2nd string receiver or defensive back would be a good guess
    Edit: Coach Tressel has announced the Redshirt Freshman Jamaal Berry and Sophomore Jordan Hall will handle the kickoff returns.

    Edge: Even

    Head-to-Head: Ohio State Punt team vs Marshall Punt Return Team

    Sophomore Ben Buchanon takes over the full-time punt duties this year for the Buckeyes. Marshall's leading return specialist Darius Marshall has taken his talents to the NFL so they will be breaking in new players on Special Teams too. I have some unfounded optimism in Buchanon.

    Edge: Ohio State

    Head-to-Head Ohio State Kickoff team vs Marshall Kickoff Return Team

    Chillicothe's own Drew Basil will open the season as the kickoff specialist for the Buckeyes. Basil impressed the Buckeye staff enough to win the job as a true freshman. The Buckeyes have been very tough on returners in recent years and expect that trend to continue.

    Edge: Ohio State

    Overall Special Teams Analysis

    Both Ohio State and Marshall will be breaking in new players at the critical positions of special teamers. With very little to go on, expect the more athletic Buckeyes to come out on top in the battle for field position.
    Predictions
    BB73's prediction: 31-10, Ohio State
    Buckeyeskickbuttocks' prediction: 38-10, Ohio State
    Bucklion's prediction: 31-13, Ohio State
    Bucky Katt's prediction: 34-3, Ohio State
    DaddyBigBucks's prediction: 41-6, Ohio State
    jwinslow's prediction: 42-7, Ohio State
    JCOSU86's prediction: 34-10, Ohio State

    Low score wins the year long battle of prediction supremacy! (Difference of actual scores versus predicted scores. 10 point penalty for picking the losing team.)

    Congrats to last year's winner: BB73
    Previous Game's Results (tOSU 26, Oregon 17)

    (187) BB73's prediction: 27-23, Ohio State (7 + 180 last week = 187)
    (203) Bucky Katt's prediction: 30-27, Ohio State (14 + 189 last week = 203)
    (225) Buckeyeskickbuttocks' prediction: 34-17, Ohio State (8 + 217 last week = 225)
    (238) B[FONT=verdana][FONT=verdana][FONT=verdana][FONT=verdana][FONT=verdana][FONT=verdana][FONT=verdana][FONT=verdana]ucklion's prediction: 27-24, Ohio State (8 + 230 last week = 238)[/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT]
    (245) JCOSU86's prediction: 24-14, Ohio State (5 + 240 last week = 245)
    (258) [FONT=verdana]jwinslow's prediction: 35-24, Ohio State (16 + 242 last week = 258)[/FONT]
    (288) DaddyBigBucks's prediction: 24-13, Ohio State (6 + 282 last week = 288)

    Adjusted scores for weeks missed. Participant must take the highest score from the week they missed.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2010
  2. BrutusBuckeyeAZ

    BrutusBuckeyeAZ Freshman

    Wow! Great info guys! Thanks for the great reading material!:osu:
  3. muffler dragon

    muffler dragon Bien. Bien chiludo.

    :cheers: For all the effort and time that goes into these previews! All of you rock!.
  4. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye Pork cue pine Staff Member

    Great AP poll info, but you forgot one item (unless I overlooked it): Ohio State is 2nd (I think) in the total number of weeks ranked at #1. BB73, chop-chop...
  5. BB73

    BB73 Loves Buckeye History Staff Member Bookie

    It's the last item of the first post in this thread. I'm trakcing it, but left it out of the preview on purpose. Hopefully it comes into play later in the season. :biggrin:

    BP.Poll.Streaks
    bkochmc and 808 Buck like this.
  6. MD Buckeye

    MD Buckeye URBAN!!! URBAN!!! URBAN!!! URBAN!!! Staff Member Bookie '13 BPCFFB II Champ

    Awesome work guys!!!!
  7. Tlangs

    Tlangs Owner of the Tressel Jacket

    two thumbs down. Way too much information on Marshall there for my liking.
  8. jenkinswoody

    jenkinswoody I heart Wendy Peffercorn

    As always....Thank you.
  9. ScottsdaleBucki

    ScottsdaleBucki Ignatius J Reilly is my role model

    Wow!!! That is some great work there. Thanks!
  10. LitlBuck

    LitlBuck I Don't Want Any Trouble

    Always enjoy these previews and appreciate the time and effort put into them.
  11. We've got our own Silver Bullets right here on BP. Good job!
  12. Deety

    Deety GO BUCKS! Staff Member

    Best previews out there, hands down. Thanks so much, guys!
  13. JCOSU86

    JCOSU86 Go Bucks! Staff Member

    I updated the ST section to reflect JT's announcement that Jamaal Berry and Jordan Hall will be the kickoff returners.
  14. RockstarBuckeye

    RockstarBuckeye Go Bucks!!

    Awesome analysis! Donating to BP (in 2-3 business days...thanks paypal :smash:) and looking forward to the upcoming season.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
    muffler dragon likes this.
  15. Jake

    Jake loves butterscotch jellybeans

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