Football Hosts UCF Saturday

Nov. 12, 2008

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Marshall University will host UCF in a Conference USA East Division football matchup on Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. and CBS College Sports will televise the contest.

Television: CSS (Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast) with Paul Crane (pxp) and Chuck Oliver (analyst), Allison Williams (sidelines). Available on Comcast Cable in Huntington (W.Va.) on channel 68.

Radio: The Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Radio Network (WDGG-93.7 FM, Flagship in Huntington) with Steve Cotton (play-by-play), Greg Cyrus (analyst), and Raquel Smith (sidelines).

Homecoming 2008: Marshall will be celebrating homecoming on Saturday when it hosts C-USA East Division rival UCF...Marshall has won 15 consecutive homecoming games dating back to 1992 and holds an all-time record of 56-42-8 in homecoming games...Marshall is believed to have one of the oldest homecoming traditions in college football and traces its homecoming roots back to early newspaper accounts of a "coming home" game with Kingsbury High School on Nov. 28, 1895.

The Series: Marshall and UCF have met six times and the series is tied at 3-3...both schools competed as members of the Mid-American Conference from 2002 to 2004 and joined Conference USA in 2005...The Thundering Herd won the first three meetings in the series and the Knights have won the last three games, including a 47-13 victory in Orlando last year...UCF edged Marshall 23-22 in its last visit to Huntington in 2006...Marshall head coach Mark Snyder is 0-3 against UCF, while UCF's George O'Leary is 3-1 against the Herd.

Scouting the Knights: UCF enters Saturday's game with a record of 2-7 overall following a 17-6 loss to Southern Miss...the Knights, the 2007 C-USA Champions, are currently on a four game losing streak that includes a 20-14 loss at Miami (Fla.), a 49-19 loss at Tulsa, a 13-10 overtime loss to East Carolina and the 17-6 loss to USM last week...UCF receiver Brian Watters leads his team with 34 catches for 505 yards and three touchdowns...The Knights posses three players who have rushed for more than 200 yards this season - running back Ronnie Weaver (348 yards), quarterback Michael Greco (218 yards) and running back Brynn Harvey (208)...Defensively, UCF is led by senior safety Jason Venson's 61 total tackles..the Knights Johnell Neal leads the team with four interceptions and UCF boasts a group of six players with seven or more tackles for loss this season, including soph. linebacker Lawerence Young and junior lineman Torrell Troup who have been credited with 10 tackles for loss a piece...Joe Burnett gives the Knights one of the most dangerous return men in college football, the UCF standout is producing 111.8 all-purpose yards per game and is averaging 31.6 yards per kick return with two touchdowns.

Scouting the Herd: Marshall is coming off of a tough 19-16 loss in overtime at East Carolina...the Thundering Herd rallied from seven points down to tie the game with under two minutes to play to force overtime with the East Division leading Pirates in a hard fought defensive battle...With three games to play, Marshall is fighting for bowl eligibility with a record of 4-5...Marshall's leading rusher is sophomore running back Darius Marshall who has 166 carries for 741 yards and five touchdowns following his 123-yard rushing performance at ECU, the Herd running back is also a dangerous kick returner and is averaging 29.2 yards per kick return...In the passing game, Marshall senior receiver Darius Passmore and tight end Cody Slate are among the best in the country...Passmore leads Marshall with 48 catches for 853 yards and five touchdowns, while Slate adds 28 receptions for 369 yards and six scores...Defensively, junior linebacker Mario Harvery leads the Herd with 69 total tackles, 6.5 tackles per loss and 4.5 sacks...freshman corner DeQuan Bembry is second on the team with 67 stops, and senior middle linebacker Maurice Kitchens is third with 64 tackles...Kitchens also leads the team in interceptions with three.

The Last Meeting: UCF controlled the lines of scrimmage and Kevin Smith rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Knights to a 47-13 win over Marshall in Orlando last season...UCF jumped out to a 27-3 halftime lead...Kyle Israel threw for 203 yards and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Brian Watters who finished the day with six catches for 88 yards...Marshall's Bernard Morris threw for 239 yards and Cody Slate caught nine passes for 91 yards...UCF limited Marshall's running attack to only 88 yards, holding Darius Marshall to only four carries for -2 yards and Chubb Small to two carries for 45 yards...UCF had six different players register sacks in the game, while C.J. Spillman led the Marshall defense with 11 tackles.

Oh So Close: Marshall has come with in just a few plays of being perfect in conference play this season...The Thundering Herd's two Conference USA loses (at UAB and at ECU) have come by a combined total of five points...Marshall dropped a 23-21 decision at UAB and lost 19-16 in overtime at East Carolina.

Mr. Kitchens Shines: Senior linebacker Maurice Kitchens is having a career year. Kitchens has racked up 64 tackles and leads the team interceptions with three. Against Houston two weeks ago he led the way with an 80-yard fumble return and an interception that set up two Marshall touchdowns. For his efforts, he was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week.

Super Mario: Thundering Herd junior linebacker Mario Harvey is putting together a great season. Harvey was credited with a career-high 14 tackles at ECU and now leads the team in tackles with 69 total tackles. He also leads the team in tackles for loss (6.5 for -41 yards) and sacks (4.5 for -37 yards). He has also forced two fumbles and took a fumble return 62 yards for a touchdown at UAB.

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 166 carries for 741 yards and five touchdowns. He also leads the team with 22 kick returns for 642 yards, an average of 29.2 yards per return. Marshall has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game five times this season, including last week when he rushed for a game-high 123 yards against East Carolina.

PASSmore: Marshall senior receiver Darius Passmore may be the best named player in college football. Passmore is averaging 94.8 receiving yards per game. He has 48 catches for 853 yards and five touchdowns thus far and has also carried the ball 18 times for an additional 168 yards and a touchdown. In the win over Houston, Passmore worked out of shotgun formation at the quarterback position and carried the ball eight times for 42 yards.

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 115-15 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Marshall's 115 home wins over that period of time is believed to be the most in major college football.