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Herd won’t let UMass sneak up

HUNTINGTON, W.

Friday, September 07, 2001

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – There are words of caution coming from the Marshall Thundering Herd camp.

Coming off a 49-14 thrashing at the hands of Florida last week, Marshall gets to regroup and give a pounding this week as the Herd hosts the Massachusetts Minutemen at 7 p.m. Saturday.

UMass, a NCAA 1-AA program, was 7-4 last season and was hit hard by graduation. Marshall is the favorite to win the Mid-American Conference.

The Minutemen won the NCAA I-AA national championship two years ago.

But Herd coach Bob Pruett is trying to warn his team about a letdown. He pointed out that last week Furman almost beat Wyoming and Richmond lost by one point to Virginia.

Pruett also remembered how the Herd escaped Wofford 29-27 when a potential game-winning field goal was blocked by Danny Derricott in the 1998 season.

"We have to come to play. Massachusetts is coming off a conference loss. We have to play hard and execute," Pruett said.

UMass had a meager 62 yards rushing and 79 passing in a 31-10 loss to William & Mary last week. The Minutemen offense is guided by redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Guice who was 14-of-28 last week with two interceptions.

Guice’s No. 1 target is wide receiver DeShon Hardy but he is joined by Adrian Zullo who is considered one of the top wideouts in the country if he is healthy after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament last season.

The running game lost All-American tailback Marcel Shipp and his replacement is Kevin Quinlan who will team with fullback Peter Cariello. Offensive lineman Corey Mitchell is an All-American candidate.

The 4-4 defense is anchored by All-American defensive back Jeremy Robinson and linebackers Corey Potter and Mark Kimener.