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Herd plays at winless USM

Published 12:49am Friday, October 19, 2012

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Don’t be deceived by the record. This isn’t a soft spot in the Marshall schedule.

The Thundering Herd (2-4, 1-1) plays at winless Southern Miss on Saturday night, but Marshall head coach Doc Holliday isn’t fooled by the Golden Eagles’ record.

To date, the Eagles (0-6, 0-2) have lost 49-20 at Nebraska, 24-14 to East Carolina, 42-17 at Western Kentucky, 21-17 to Louisville, 40-14 to Boise State and 38-31 in double overtime at Central Florida last week.

“(USM coach) Ellis Johnson has his hands full. But he hasn’t lost his players. He has held them together. They’re playing extremely hard. That’s a tribute to that team,” said Holliday.

One area that has hampered the Eagles is quarterback.

The Golden Eagles have been trying to find the right quarterback after losing a four-year starter last season. Freshman Anthony Alford appears to have won the job and has begun to settle into the position.

“(Alford) is playing with confidence,” said Holiday.

“That team won 12 games a year ago and they still have good players. They’ve had an issue at quarterback with injuries and rolling three guys, but it looks like they’ve settled on Alford He is a true freshman. He got better as the year went on and the more he played. I think Alford took a step (forward) in the UCF game.”

Marshall beat Southern Miss at home last season 26-20 when the Eagles turned the ball over four times in the second half. But the Herd has had its problems in Hattiesburg.

Southern Miss coach Ellis Johnson said he doesn’t expect Marshall to tip its hand until the last second.

“They are not extremely multiple, but they hide what they do extremely well,” said Johnson. “Pre-snap, they do a great job of moving late and have just enough time to change up. They run really well and are very capable of being destructive.”

The 31 points was a season-high and came against C-USA’s stingiest defense.

 

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