Football Faces Rice Saturday in Houston


Mario Harvey

Mario Harvey

Nov. 19, 2008

The Marshall University football team travels to Rice University this weekend for a Conference USA contest that will be televised by CBS College Sports on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (ET).

The Thundering Herd (4-6 overall, and 3-3 C-USA) will be making its first trip to Rice Stadium to take on an Owls team that is battling for first place in the C-USA West Division with a 7-3 overall record and a 5-1 mark in C-USA play.

Television Information: Televised by CBS College Sports with Tom Hart and Trev Alberts. CBS C is available on DirecTV channel 613 and on Dish Network channel 152. It is also available on Comcast Cable in Huntington on channel 174, Armstrong Cable channel 499 and Suddenlink channel 317.

The Series: Marshall and Rice met for the first time last season with Marshall taking a 34-21 win in Huntington...Marshall and Rice joined C-USA in 2005, however due to the cross divisional setup Rice Stadium is one of only two C-USA venues the Thundering Has not played in. The other is the Louisiana Superdome (Marshall was scheduled to play at the Superdome in 2005, however the game was moved to Mobile, Alabama, due to Hurricane Katrina).

Scouting the Owls: Rice is tied for the C-USA West Division lead at 5-1 in conference play and features one of the top passing attacks in college football...the Owls are averaging 40.8 points per game and 462 yards of total offense per outing...quarterback Chase Clement has thrown for 3,116 yards and 32 touchdowns against only six interceptions...James Casey and Jarett Dillard have both already surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in receiving with Dillard producing 1,093 yards and 17 touchdowns and Casey adding 1,007 yards and nine scores...defensively, Andrew Sendejo leads Rice with 68 total tackles despite playing in only eight games.


 

 

Scouting the Herd: Marshall is coming off of a 30-14 loss to UCF in Huntington...the Thundering Herd has lost several close conference games, including a 19-16 overtime loss at East Carolina two weeks ago and a 23-21 setback at UAB on Oct. 18 and now finds itself fighting to win its last two in order to gain bowl eligibility with six wins...Marshall features one of the top running backs in C-USA with Darius Marshall who has rushed for 883 yards and five touchdowns this season...the Herd also features wide receiver Darius Passmore who has 858 receiving yards and five scores and standout tight end Cody Slate who has 415 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games...defensively, Marshall has been solid with junior linebacker Mario Harvey leading the way with a team-high 83 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

The Last Meeting: The Marshall football team raced ahead to a 17-0 lead at the half and then held on for a 34-21 win over Rice on Homecoming Night in Joan C. Edwards Stadium last season. Herd quarterback Bernard Morris produced 347 yards of total offense. The senior threw for 227 yards and rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

A trio of running backs led the Herd on the ground. Junior Chubb Small and freshman Darius Marshall combined for 113 yards on 25 carries and Kelvin Turner recorded two rushing touchdowns.

Rice was led by Chase Clement's 281 yards passing and two touchdowns. Clement also led the Owls with 76 rushing yards and a score.

Mr. Kitchens Shines: Senior linebacker Maurice Kitchens is having a career year. Kitchens has racked up 76 tackles and leads the team interceptions with three. In the win over Houston, 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.

Call Him Thumper: Thundering Herd junior linebacker Mario Harvey is putting together a great season and living up to his nickname of "Thumper." Harvey was credited with a career-high 14 tackles at ECU and he matched that total vs. UCF last week. He now leads the team in tackles with 83 total stops. He also leads the team in tackles for loss (7 for -42 yards) and sacks (4.5 for -37 yards). He has also forced two fumbles, has an interception, and took a fumble return 62 yards for a touchdown at UAB.

He is (Darius) Marshall and He is Closing in on 1,000: Sophomore running back Darius Marshall leads the Herd with 182 carries for a career-high 883 yards and five touchdowns. He also leads the team with 25 kick returns for 705 yards, an average of 28.2 yards per return. Marshall has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game six times this season, including last week when he rushed for a career-high 142 yards on just 16 carries against UCF. Marshall ranks seventh in the nation in all-purpose yards by a runner with 167.9 yards per game.

PASSmore Closing in on 1,000: Marshall senior receiver Darius Passmore may be the best named player in college football. Passmore is averaging 85.8 receiving yards per game. He has 49 catches for 858 yards and five touchdowns thus far (despite consistently drawing double coverage) 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. Passmore is within reach of 1,000 yards receiving this season and if he reaches that plateau he would be only the ninth individual in Marshall's rich receiving history to record a 1,000-yard season.

MU 1,000-YARD SINGLE SEASON RECEIVERS

  • 1. Mike Barber 1987 1,757
  • 2. Randy Moss 1996 1,709
  • 3. Randy Moss 1997 1,647
  • 4. Troy Brown 1992 1,654
  • 5. Darius Watts 2001 1,417
  • 6. Sean Doctor 1987 1,372
  • 7. Mike Barber 1988 1,325
  • 8. Brian Dowler 1991 1,197
  • 9. Josh Davis 2002 1,191
  • 10. Mike Barber 1986 1,180
  • 11. Nate Poole 1999 1,122
  • 12. Darius Watts 2002 1,030

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 Rice game with 57 tackles on the season. He recorded a key pass breakup and forced a fumble that secured the win over Memphis. He did not play against Houston due to injury, however he returned to action at ECU to record seven tackles and a pass breakup.

One Great Slate: Cody Slate has established himself as one of the top tight ends in the nation. Slate earned honorable mention All-America honors from both SI.com and College Football News.com 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. Slate has at least one touchdown catch in five consecutive games and leads the Herd with seven touchdown receptions this year to go along with his 415 receiving yards. Slate, a junior, now has 18 career TD receptions and is tied for 8th all-time in career receiving TDs at Marshall. He also has 1,917 career receiving yards, trailing Fuzzy Fillez's 1,954 yards from 1973-76 for 10th all-time at MU.

MU CAREER TD RECEPTIONS LEADERS

  • 1. Randy Moss 1996-97 53
  • 2. Darius Watts 2000-03 47
  • 3. Mike Barber 1985-88 26
  • 4. Troy Brown 1991-92 24
  • 5. Josh Davis 2000-04 23
  • 5. Tim Martin 1993-95 23
  • 7. Jim Swierczek 1951-53 22
  • 8. Cody Slate 2006-PRESENT 18
  • 8. Nate Poole 1997-00 18
  • 8. LaVorn Colclough 1995-97 18