Football Faces Memphis Saturday at the Liberty Bowl


Senior Albert McClellan

Senior Albert McClellan

Sept. 23, 2009

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Marshall University's football team will open conference play this Saturday at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET and the game will be televised regionally by CSS.

TELEVISION INFORMATION: Saturday's game will be televised by CSS (Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast) with Richard Cross serving as the play-by-play announcer and Brian Jordan serving as the analyst. Melissa Lee will handle sideline duties. CSS is available on Comcast Cable channel 68 in Huntington and parts of Putnam County. CSS reaches 5.9 million households in 12 Southeastern stats ranging from West Virginia in the north to Florida in the south and Texas in the west. You can check for availability in your area by going to the CSS zip code finder at http://www.csssports.com/pages/zipcode_finder.

RADIO INFORMATION: Saturday's game will be broadcast across the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Radio Network with Steve Cotton handling play-by-play, Greg Cyrus serving as analyst and Rocky Smith providing sideline reports.

Marshall improved to 2-1 overall with an impressive 17-10 win over former Mid-American Conference rival Bowling Green. After trailing 7-0 at the half, the Herd posted 17 consecutive points to seal the win in its first game against a MAC opponent since leaving the league in 2005.

After facing non-conference opponents over the first three weeks of the season, Marshall will open up Conference USA play on Saturday at Memphis. MU is in its fifth year as a member of C-USA and has posted a 1-3 mark in C-USA openers since joining the league in 2005. The Herd opened league play with losses to UCF in 2005 and 2006. This will mark the third straight year the Herd will open its C-USA slate against Memphis. Following a 24-21 loss to the Tigers in 2007, Marshall held on for a 17-16 win over Memphis in its 2008 meeting in Huntington.

Saturday's game will mark the fifth meeting between Marshall and Memphis with the series knotted at two wins each. The home team has won every meeting in the series. In 2005 and 2007, Memphis took wins by the scores of 26-3 and 24-21 at the Liberty Bowl, while Marshall was on the winning end of a 41-27 decision in 2006 and a 17-16 score last season in the meetings in Huntington.

Tracking The Tigers: Memphis begins C-USA play with a record of 1-2. Memphis opened up the season playing host to top-ten foe Ole Miss, coming out with a 45-14 loss. Following a 31-14 loss at Middle Tennessee State, the Tigers grabbed their first win of the season last weekend, downing UT-Martin, 41-14.

Game Changer: With just over ten minutes left in the game against Bowling Green, junior Darius Marshall put the Herd up for good, rushing the ball 80 yards for what would be the game-winning score. The run marked a career-high for Marshall. The run gave MU its first lead of the game, an advantage the Herd would never give up.

Quick Turnaround: Just one week after giving up 444 yards on the ground to Virginia Tech, Marshall's rushing defense made a quick 180, holding Bowling Green to just ten yards on the ground. It marked the best defensive effort against an oppositions running game since Marshall gave up 25 yards of rushing to UTEP in 2006.

Big Sack Day: Marshall's defense sacked BGSU quarterback Tyler Sheehan six times in the 17-10 win. Those six sacks are the most by MU in a game since recoring six in a win over Hofstra on Sept. 9, 2006. Entering the game, BGSU had only surrendered 3 sacks in two games.

Defensive Leader: Marshall defensive end Albert McClellan had one of his top career efforts in the win over Bowling Green. The senior led all players with 15 tackles, three tackles for a loss and two sacks. His sack of BGSU QB Tyler Sheehan in the fourth quarter forced a fumble that set up a Marshall field goal. McClellan was named this week's C-USA Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

McClellan on Special Teams: Marshall got a huge lift in the win over BGSU when senior defensive end Albert McClellan deflected a BGSU field goal attempt at the 6:52 mark of the first half.

The Great Cody Slate: All-America and John Mackey Award Candidate Cody Slate is one of the top returning tight ends in the nation. Slate, a senior from Chipley, Fla., has accumulated 2,168 receiving yards and 21 TD receptions in his career. He is on the preseason John Mackey Award Watch List and with his performance in the 2009 opener against Southern Illinois, passed former MU standout Sean Doctor's career total of 2,100 receiving yards to become the top receiving tight end in Marshall History. His 2,168 career receiving yards put him 8th all-time at Marshall and his 163 career receptions are the ninth most in MU history.

Sir Albert: First-team All-Conference USA selection Albert McClellan returns for his senior season at defensive end. McClellan was the 2006 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year and ranks among Marshall's career leaders in tackles for loss with 34 and sacks with 20. McClellan is on the preseason Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List and is a preseason All C-USA selection by the league's coaches.

Mr. Marshall: Running Back Darius Marshall rushed for 1,095 yards last season and is poised for a strong junior season. He is also a multi-purpose threat that provides Marshall with one of the top kick returners in C-USA. In his first game of the season, Marshall rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries at Virginia Tech. He followed that up with a career game against Bowling Green. Marshall rushed for a career-high 186 yards against the Falcons in a game highlighted by a career-best 80-yard touchdown scamper. He was honored by the Sports Performance Awards as one of the nation's honorable mention selections for national running back of the week.