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MCGILL: Numbers to know for Marshall-Morgan State

Doc Holliday.
Sept. 10, 2016

By Chuck McGill

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Joan C. Edwards Stadium celebrated its 25th birthday this week. As we enter Saturday’s football season opener against Morgan State (kickoff is set for 6:04 p.m.), Marshall’s head coach, Doc Holliday, is sitting on a milestone win total: 50.

The 59-year-old coach, who is entering his seventh season, hit the big 5-0 when the Thundering Herd defeated Connecticut, 16-10, in the St. Petersburg Bowl in December. It has been 259 days since Marshall last played a football game, but Holliday finally has the chance to add to his career win total against the visiting Football Championship Subdivision program from Baltimore, Maryland.

There are plenty of numbers in those first two paragraphs, which will be the purpose of this feature throughout the Herd’s football season. If you’re wondering about Holliday’s career mark against FCS schools – it is 4-0, by the way – or by how much he has won those matchups against FCS schools – 50-9.5, on average – this is the place you’ll find that information.

Here are numbers to know:

• Marshall is one of eight FBS programs with three consecutive double-digit win seasons. The others: Clemson, Florida State, Baylor, Michigan State, Ohio State, Georgia and Alabama. That is elite company, but the list becomes more exclusive when we focus on head coaches, not programs. There are only six head coaches going for a fourth consecutive double-digit win season at their current school: Dabo Swinney, Jimbo Fisher, Mark Dantonio, Urban Meyer, Nick Saban and Doc Holliday.



Among those six head coaches, only five have lost one or fewer home game the past three seasons: Swinney, Fisher, Dantonio, Saban and Holliday.

• Marshall owns bragging rights to the winningest home venue entering Saturday’s opener. Even if the Herd defeats Morgan State, Baylor can take over the top spot on that list with a win against Southern Methodist.

The Herd is 148-26 going into its 26th season at Edwards Stadium – a winning percentage of .851. A win against Morgan State doesn’t change that overall percentage.

Baylor, however, is 11-2 in two seasons at its new stadium. A win against SMU bumps the Bears’ winning percentage at home from .846 to .857.

Nick Smith, a 5-10-171-pound junior, is the leading returning scorer for the Herd with 103 career points (18 field goals and 49 extra points). Ten other Herd players have scored in their careers at Marshall: Ryan Yurachek, 66; Deon-Tay McManus, 42; Hyleck Foster, 36; Justin Hunt, 30; Tony Pittman, 26; Keion Davis, 12; Emanuel Byrd, 6; Nyquan Harris, 2; Amoreto Curraj, 1.

• Last season, there were 18 players who made at least nine starts on offense and defense. Six of those players return: Gary Thompson (defensive end), Devontre’a Tyler (linebacker), Chase Litton (quarterback), Jordan Dowrey (offensive line), Michael Selby (offensive line) and Ryan Yurachek (tight end).

• Check the scoreboard at halftime. If it looks good for the Herd, feel good about the outcome. Marshall enters Saturday with a 26-game winning streak when leading at halftime. That stretches back to Sept. 21, 2013, when the Herd lost at Virginia Tech, 29-21, in triple overtime. MU led the Hokies 21-14 at intermission, but didn’t score in the final two quarters or trio of overtimes.

• This year’s top five tacklers won’t be a repeat of any of last year’s top five. All five of those players – Evan McKelvey, Tiquan Lang, Taj Letman, D.J. Hunter and Corey Tindal – are gone.

• The last time the Herd opened the season this late: 1981. That year, the Sonny Randle-coached Herd opened on Sept. 12 with a 20-17 win against Morehead State. Also, the last time Marshall didn’t play a September road game was 1993 when MU defeated Morehead State, Murray State and Georgia Southern before playing at Tennessee-Chattanooga on Oct. 2.