Herd pits offense against Purdue defense

Published 2:00 am Friday, September 28, 2012

Jim Walker



HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The irresistible force meets the immovable object.

It will be the Marshall Thundering Herd trying to unleash its high-scoring offense against the Purdue Boilermakers and their shutdown defense.

Marshall averages 383.5 passing yards, 177 rushing yards and 41 points per game. However, the defense is giving up 265 yards passing, 244 yards rushing and 42 points a game.

“We have to make more plays. We will play well at times, then we’ll give up the big play. We have to become more consistent, more aggressive and become better tackles in all areas,” said Holliday.

Purdue (2-1) is allowing 109 yards rushing, 184 passing and 14 points a game. Offensively, the Boilermakers average 219 yards rushing, 251 passing and 40 points per game.

“They are a much improved football team from a year ago. Their defense is what really stands out for them,” said Herd coach Doc Holliday.

“They’re only allowing 293 yards a game. Their front four have a couple of guys that will probably be first- or second-round draft picks. We have a great challenge offensively.”

The key players up front on defense are tackle Kawann Short (6-3, 315) and end Ryan Russell (6-5, 275).

“That entire front four could play for anybody and they’re a talented bunch,” said Holliday.

Marshall (2-2) will be a challenge for the Purdue defense. Quarterback Rakeem Cato leads the nation with 1,481 passing yards and 142 completions.

The Herd finally got its running game going last week in a 54-51 double overtime win at Rice. They rushed 50 times for 334 yards.

“We’ve done a good job offensively of mixing things up,” said Holliday. “I don’t think we’re one-dimensional as far as getting the ball to just (wide receiver) Aaron (Dobson) or just Tommy (Shuler). We spread the ball around.”

Purdue has split its quarterback duties between Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush.

The game marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Kickoff is set for 3:15 p.m.