Marshall preparing for Bearcats

Published 5:18 am Thursday, October 2, 2008

A funny thing happened to the Marshall Thundering Herd defense as it was preparing for the Cincinnati Bearcats. They couldn’t prepare for any quarterback.

Injuries had sidelined quarterback Dustin Grutza with a broken leg and backup Tony Pike who has a bad arm sustained last week in a 17-15 win over Akron.

Chazz Anderson and Zach Collaros are battling for the starting job this week. Both are redshirt freshmen.

Email newsletter signup

Marshall coach Mark Snyder said the Bearcats’ quarterback situation leaves his team in a quandary as they brace for the Bearcats visit Friday night at Joan Edwards Stadium.

“We have to worry about Marshall on defense and do what we can do. It’s a little difficult to scout,” said Snyder.

Marshall (3-2) is coming off a 27-3 loss at rival West Virginia. Snyder is expecting his team to redeem itself against the Bearcats who beat the Herd handily last year, 40-14.

“We did not play well against them last year. I don’t even want to think about last year. We’re here, we’re a different football team, totally, and we’re glad to be home,” said Snyder.

The Bearcats come into the game 3-1 with the only loss to top-ranked Oklahoma on the road. Cincinnati features kick returner Mardy Gilyard.

“Fans are going to see the No. 1 and No. 3 kickoff returners in the country in Gilyard and (Marshall’s Darius) Marshall,” said Snyder.

“(Gilyard) is explosive. He can bust a game wide-open. We’re going to have to play superior special teams, not turn the ball over and get points on the board. We can’t let them get points in the kicking game.”

Friday’s game will be aired on ESPN at 8 p.m. Snyder wants everyone to wear white and create a difficult atmosphere for the Bearcats’ rookie quarterbacks

Marshall will distribute 7,500 white T-shirts to fans including 1,000 white rally towels to students and 1,000 “rolla banner” signs to fans.

“It’s a night game and when we come out of that tunnel with the smoke going, we would like to see everyone standing up and making as much noise as they can with their white on,” said Snyder.

“We want to have the whole stadium rocking and when (Cincinnati) goes on offense to hear constant noise.”