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Holliday sees lots of similarities between Marshall and Rice

Marshall Thundering Herd defensive end and former South Point standout Jeremiah Taylor (58) rushes the quarterback during a game earlier this season against Southern Miss. The Herd hosts Rice at 3 p.m. on Saturday which is homecoming. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Marshall coach Doc Holliday on Rice:

“They create a lot of issues for you offensively because they have an option phase in their offense; they can throw the ball, they have a lot of quarterback runs incorporated into their offense and present a lot of issues by using different formations. The thing they do excellent is that they play extremely hard. They line up, play very physical and play very hard.

“For homecoming we have a team coming in here that is very similar to us. Rice opened up with Texas, they played Baylor and on the road against Southern Miss. They’ve played a very challenging schedule and have wins over Memphis and over Purdue. They are in the same boat we are, we both need a win. We’ll have a great week of preparation. One thing about this football team is that they are a lot better than what people think they are. Don’t look at the record, look at who they’ve played. We will have our hands full.”

Rice (2-3, 1-1 C-USA) at Marshall (2-4, 1-1),

3 p.m. EDT Saturday

Line: Marshall by 5

Series Record: Tied 1-1

Last Meeting: 2008, Rice 35-10

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Both teams are trying to keep pace in their divisions, and a loss would virtually end each team’s chances of winning it. Marshall is tied for second place behind Central Florida, which faces SMU this week. The Owls are a game behind Houston and SMU with meetings with both high-scoring teams yet to come.

KEY MATCHUP

Rice defense vs. Marshall offense. The Owls are giving up 501 yards and 33 points per game, even after a 28-6 win over Memphis last week. The Thundering Herd ranks last in Conference USA in total offense (271.7 yards per game) and mustered only 130 yards in a 16-6 loss at Central Florida last week.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Rice: QB Taylor McHargue. The sophomore completed 15 of 22 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown against Memphis last week. Through five games, he’s completed 85 of 146 passes for 879 yards and seven touchdowns. The Owls’ offense is averaging 23 points per game.

Marshall: DE Vinny Curry. Coaches picked the senior as the league’s top defensive player in the preseason. Last season, Curry led all defensive linemen in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 94 tackles, including 12 sacks. Curry ranks second in career tackles for loss (40) behind Southern Miss’ Cordarro Law among active players.