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BOGACZYK: Herd Takes Title Trophy, Could Get More

Tommy Shuler
Dec. 10, 2014

By JACK BOGACZYK

HERDZONE.COM COLUMNIST

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – When Marshall won its first Conference USA football championship last Saturday, the Herd gained more than a new bauble for its new Hall of Fame or the Shewey Building trophy cases.

Depending on the revenue stream provided by a rain-soaked, noisy crowd of 23,711 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium for a 26-23 win over Louisiana Tech, Marshall could prosper on the bottom line, too.

That’s because C-USA also has a revenue-sharing plan for its annual football championship game.

Alfred White, the Conference USA associate commissioner who is in charge of football operations, said the league uses a three-pronged approach for title-game revenue.

"Marshall can gain three times," White said.

First, Marshall gets to recoup its expenses as the host school. As the visiting team, Louisiana Tech has travel expenses (charter aircraft, hotel, meals for up to 130 in the travel party) covered by C-USA, as well as the cost to travel the band.

White said C-USA will cover the charter plane cost for up to 200 visiting band members, or allow a larger number of band members to travel if the band buses to the game site. Tech flew in about 100 band members.

The revenue remaining after all expenses are covered is divided into three pools. The C-USA champion gets 15 percent, with the runner-up getting 10 percent. The remaining 75 percent is divided equally among the 13 C-USA football members in 2014.

The crowd of 23,711 ranked seventh among the 10 C-USA Championship Games to date.

How all the dollars add up – obviously – is yet to be determined.

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Here’s a look at a few other Herd items from Championship Saturday:

While the Herd offense got into the end zone only twice against the Bulldogs, Marshall did establish a school record with the ball during the title game.

With 429 yards total offense, Coordinator Bill Legg’s attack has a Herd season record of 7,324 yards (in 13 games), with a bowl game to go. The 1996 NCAA Division I-AA champion Herd owned the record of 7,287 (in 15 games). The average per game record is 534.3 yards in 2012. The current average in 2014 is 563.4.


 

 

The Herd offense has scored 586 points in 13 games. The school record of 658 (in 15 games) was set in 1996. The 1992 team is the only other Herd squad to eclipse 600 (with 604 in 15 games). Last season’s 10-4 Herd scored 590. The current 586 points rank fourth in history.

The 1996 team had the touchdown season record of 87. The 2014 Herd has 77 TDs.

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With seven catches against LaTech, Herd senior slot receiver Tommy Shuler has moved to 304 career receptions – two behind the school-record 306 by Josh Davis (2001-04). Shuler also ranks second in C-USA history, behind 320 receptions by Houston’s Tyron Carrier from 2008-11.

Shuler has 74 receptions this season. With one more catch, the Miamian will join Davis as the only two receivers in Marshall history with three seasons of 75 or more catches.

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While MU quarterback Rakeem Cato added to his NCAA record of consecutive games with a touchdown pass, the Herd senior quarterback got another accomplishment to go with a conference championship and all of his Marshall career passing records.

His 308 passing yards gave him 17 career games with 300 or more air yards, tying Chad Pennington for No. 2 on the all-time Marshall list for 300-plus games. Byron Leftwich is tops with 22. Michael Payton ranks No. 4, with 10.

Cato’s 45th straight game with a TD pass means that in the Herd’s bowl game, he can tie the NCAA all-divisions record. Mike Reilly threw for TDs in 46 consecutive games at Central Washington from 2005-08. That also is the NCAA Division II record.

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When the Herd defense held the Bulldogs to a field goal on their first series, it marked the 13th time in 13 games that a Marshall opponent has reached the Herd 10-yard line (or inside) and been held without a touchdown (four made field goals, nine stops).

Marshall had six three-and-outs on defense, plus a first-down fumble recovery and the first-down interception by linebacker Neville Hewitt that sealed the game. The Herd forced 10 Tech punts, a C-USA Championship record.

It was a real rebound for the Herd defense after allowing 738 yards and 67 points to Western Kentucky in the lone Herd loss eight days earlier. WKU had 462 yards and 49 points in the first half of that 67-66 overtime win.

"Just 30 minutes," Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said after the championship win. "Thirty minutes there. That first half (against WKU) was weird. The second half last week, we played our butts off.

"I’m going to go back and study it someday when I have time, find out and figure out what happened. The short of it is we played great all year, played 30 minutes of bad football in 13 games. All year, other than that, we’ve played great. The kids have done a sensational job, a really sensational job."

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Finally …

Marshall managed to overcome turnovers again. In the last four outings, Marshall has 12 giveaways and still won three of those games … Coach Doc Holliday’s five Marshall teams are an impressive 20-6 in games played Oct. 29 or later in a season, including 12-1 at home … Center Chris Jasperse started his 52nd consecutive game – every game in his college career – and tied MU’s record for offensive line starts during the major-college eras (1953-81 and 1997-present). Tackle Steve Sciullo started 52 in a row from 1999-2002). Jasperse also has played 3,965 career snaps. The overall Herd record for OL starts is shared by two players from the Division I-AA era, when Marshall could play 15 games. Chris Deaton (1990-93) and Aaron Ferguson (1993-96) made 56 starts. Also at 52 with Sciullo and Jasperse is I-AA era defensive tackle Billy Lyon (1993-96) … DeAndre Reaves put his name in the C-USA Championship record book again. His 44-yard kick return in the first quarter was the second-longest in C-USA title game history. Last season, in Marshall’s championship loss at rice, Reaves had 118 yards on five returns, and that’s the record for single-game KR yards … Freshman linebacker Raheim Huskey, playing in place of limited veteran Jermaine Holmes (hamstring injury), had the first two sacks of his career. They were the only two in the game for Marshall. Huskey finished with eight tackles and also forced a fumble … The Herd played 58 players in the title game.

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