Marshall Opponent Preview - West Virginia|
July 2, 2012
Over the next four weeks, HerdZone.com will preview each of Marshall's 12 football opponents for the upcoming season.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - In what figures to be its most challenging game of the season, Marshall will open 2012 at in-state rival West Virginia on Sept. 1. Fans of both teams can hope for better weather than at last year's meeting, which saw the Mountaineers win 34-13 in a game called with 14:36 remaining due to never-ending thunderstorms in Morgantown.
Both teams will be coming off bowl victories in Florida. The Mountaineers throttled Clemson, 70-33, in the Discover Orange Bowl, and the Thundering Herd downed FIU, 20-10, in the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl. The two schools will play the "Friends of Coal Bowl" for a seventh consecutive season (the end of the contracted series), and WVU holds an 11-0 advantage in the all-time series.
The Mountaineers look to be every bit as good as they were last season, and sport a No. 8 ranking in the latest edition of the 2012 Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25, composed by ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach. Coach Dana Holgorsen returns for his second season after going 10-3 and winning the Big East Conference's BCS berth after sharing the league title with Cincinnati and Louisville (all 5-2).
In its first Big 12 Conference season, West Virginia also has eight home dates and only four on the road.
With the leadership of Holgorsen, WVU's scoring offense, which ranked 76th in 2010 under the late Coach Bill Stewart with 25.2 points per game, rose to No. 13 for Holgorsen in 2011, at 37.6 points per game. WVU never scored fewer than 21 points in a game.
Offensive Player to Watch
Defensive Player to Watch
Who will step up and replace the defensive force that was Bruce Irvin? The defensive end was selected by the Seattle Seahawks with the 15th overall pick in this year's NFL Draft.
Can new defensive coordinator Joe DeForest improve a defense that allowed 26.8 points per game, a No. 61 rank in the NCAA?
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