Marshall seeing better team in matchup with Memphis

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2007

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Seeing is believing, so what will fans believe when they see Marshall and Memphis Saturday in the Thundering Herd homecoming?

One thing Herd fans will see is senior Jimmy Skinner at quarterback for the injured Bernard Morris.

Marshall coach Mark Snyder doesn’t want fans to think they’re seeing a 1-6 Memphis team.

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“Memphis has a good ball club and their record is not indicative of the type of team they have coming in here,” Snyder said. “They have good-looking wide outs, defensive tackles that are SEC caliber, a quarterback who understands their system and a very good punter.

“They have quality players at every position and we are going to have our hands full on Saturday. When you look at the film, you can see they have a lot of talent and statistically in a lot of categories they are identical to us.”

Quarterback Martin Hankins is 133 of 213 for 1,487 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has nine interceptions.

The top two receivers are two Ryan Scott with 25 catches for 355 yards and two TDs and Duke Calhoun with 23 receptions for 361 yards and 4 scores.

On the other end of the spectrum, Skinner steps in for Bradshaw and will try to keep the Herd on the winning side. Marshall handled Alabama-Birmingham last week 31-24, its first Conference-USA road win.

“Jimmy did an admirable job coming in (for Bradshaw),” Snyder said. “He was in a tough third down situation and without having much time to warm-up made a big play to convert for us.

“He did a very admirable job. He has played a lot of football here and he knows how to dissect a defense and check from one receiver down to his second and third target. He has his strengths and you have to play to those strengths.”

Memphis coach Tommy West said Marshall is better than its 2-5 record overall and 1-2 conference mark.

“Boy do we have a challenge this week,” West said. “Their starting back is playing with unbelievable confidence and playing extremely well. We have another challenge in the run game.”

West was talking about Herd running back Ahmad Bradshaw who ran for 242 yards last week, the third highest single-game total in Marshall history.

“I want you to show me another back in the entire country that has more drive and more want to than Ahmad Bradshaw. If you can find one, I want to meet him,” Snyder said.