Football Hosts Houston Tuesday Night

Oct. 24, 2008

Gameday Central
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Huntington, W.Va. - Marshall University will play host to the University of Houston Cougars in a Conference USA cross-divisional contest set for 8 p.m. Tuesday. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN 2 and fans are encouraged to wear green to the game.

Marshall is conducting a "Green-Out" for Tuesday night's game and all fans are encouraged to wear green to the game. The Marshall athletic department will be distributing 5,000 green pom-pons at the game. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 1-800-THE-HERD.

ESPN 2 will broadcast the game with Rece Davis handling play-by-play duties and Lou Holtz serving as analyst.

The Series: Marshall (3-4 overall and 2-1 C-USA) and Houston (4-3 overall and 3-0 C-USA) met for the first time last season with the Cougars taking a 35-28 decision over the Thundering Herd in Houston. Tuesday will be Houston's first visit to Huntington.

Coaching Connection: Marshall head coach Mark Snyder and Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin are long-time friends and the two coached together at the University of Minnesota under Glen Mason in 1997. Sumlin served as Quarterbacks Coach and Snyder as Defensive Ends Coach for the Golden Gophers that season.

Scouting the Thundering Herd: Marshall enters the Houston game on a three-game skid following a heart-breaking 23-21 loss at UAB last Saturday. The Thundering Herd had several opportunities to win the game, including a missed field goal with just minutes to remaining. Marshall is being led offensively by senior wide reciever Darius Passmore who currently ranks ninth in the nation in receiving yards per game with 103.4. Defensively, Marshall is paced by senior linebacker Maurice Kitchens who us averaging 7.29 tackles per game.



Scouting the Cougars: Houston brings one of the nation's most prolific offenses to Joan C. Edwards Stadium on Tuesday night. The Cougars rank third in the nation in total offense with a whopping 544.29 yards per game and feature the nation's #2 passing offense with 403.29 yards per game. The offense is directed by sophomore quarterback Case Keenum who leads the nation in total offense with 407.86 yards per game. Defensively, the Cougars are led by senior defensive lineman Phillip Hunt who leads the nation in sacks per game with 1.43. The Cougars have won three in a row and are now 4-3 overall and 3-0 in C-USA.

The Last Meeting: Houston's Anthony Aldridge rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown and had another score through the air, while quarterback Case Keenum added a combined 342 yards of offense and three touchdowns to lead the Cougars to a 35-28 win in Houston. Marshall countered with quarterback Bernard Morris who was 20-of-32 passing for 260 yards and a touchdown. Darius Marshall, Chubb Small and Kelvin Turner combined for 139 rushing yards and three scores. Marshall forced two first-half turnovers and was unable to capitalize on either of them.

Super Mario: Thundering Herd junior linebacker Mario Harvey had a great game against UAB. He led the Herd with 11 tackles, eight of which were solo, recorded a sack for a loss of nine yards, posted two tackles for loss and stripped the ball from a UAB running back and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. Harvey is now second on the team in tackles with 49 and he leads the Herd with six tackles for loss and four sacks. He also has an interception, three hurries, the fumble recovery for a touchdown and two forced fumbles to his credit.

He is (Darius) Marshall: Sophomore running back Darius Marshall led the Thundering Herd in rushing last season with 631 yards en route to earning All-Conference USA Freshman Team honors. Marshall currently leads the Herd with 131 carries for 516 yards and four touchdowns. He also leads the team with 17 kick returns for 491 yards, an average of 28.9 yards per return.

PASSmore: Marshall senior receiver Darius Passmore may be the best named player in college football. Passmore is averaging 103.4 receiving yards per game (ranks 9th nationally). He has 43 catches for 724 yards and five touchdowns thus far and has also carried the ball nine times for an additional 123 yards and a touchdown.

Mr. Spillman: Marshall senior free safety C.J. Spillman finished third in Conference USA and 12th in the nation with 10.92 tackles per game in 2007. He registered 131 total tackles on the year, which is the highest total by a Marshall player since Duran Smith recorded 160 stops in 2002. The standout went on to earn second-team All-Conference USA honors as a junior and was recognized by league coaches as a preseason All-CUSA pick this season. Spillman enters the Houston game with 45 tackles on the season. He recorded a key pass breakup and forced a fumble that secured the win over Memphis.

One Great Slate: Cody Slate has established himself as one of the top tight ends in the nation. In his first two seasons he amassed 1,502 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He has led Marshall in receiving for the last two years and is a Mackey Award Watch List selection. Slate earned honorable mention All-America honors from both and College Football as a sophomore in 2007. Last year his 5.5 receptions per game and 68.17 receiving yards per game ranked third in the nation among all tight ends. The Marshall standout had only two catches for 22 yards against Illinois State before leaving the contest with an injury that forced him to miss the Wisconsin and the Memphis games. He returned against Southern Miss to contribute four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. He also added a 35 yard run against the Golden Eagles. Slate now has 19 catches for 271 yards and three scores on the year.

Home Sweet Home: Marshall enjoys one of the finest home field advantages in college football. Since opening in 1991, the Thundering Herd has posted an impressive record of 114-15 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Coach to Cure MD: Across America on Saturday, college coaches are on the same team - working to defeat Muscular Dystrophy. It's called Coach to Cure MD and is being spearheaded by the AFCA. Coaches are wearing armbands on the sidelines to bring attention to MD. Coach Snyder and Coach Sumlin will wear the armbands on Tuesday night to help raise awareness.