Marshall vs. Ohio State Preview

By: T.J. Zuppe

Overview:

A game against Marshall at the beginning of the season could be a blessing in disguise, to a Buckeye squad that would be lying if they said their calendar was not marked with a bed red circle around September 11th against Miami of Florida. With it being week one of the college season, the odds of a letdown are greatly reduced, as players are amped up to get out on the field, no matter who the opponent is.

Even more so, Ohio State learned a tough lesson in getting beat by Purdue last year, to not take any team lightly, and head coach Jim Tressel will make sure his troops are rolling ready into Thursday’s matchup.

Marshall Quarterback Brian Anderson

Hello Mr. Anderson:

The Thundering Herd are led on offense by senior quarterback Brian Anderson. Anderson, a Louisville, Kentucky native, had a decent junior season for Marshall, and led the team in passing with 2,646 yards through the air, and tossed 14 touchdowns.

However, Anderson was a Jekyll and Hyde character between home and road games, as he only threw five touchdowns to seven interceptions on the road, and completed five percent lower of his passes. His quarterback rating is nearly 20 points lower away from the friendly confines of his home turf.

Anderson finished with 13 interceptions in 2009, a number he will have to shrink if he wants to continue to bring the Thundering Herd offense success. The 6-foot-3 signal caller will be relied heavily on throughout the campaign, as the leader of the football team.

New Starts:

Former West Virginia assistant John Holliday will take over as the coach of Marshall this season, after Mark Snyder’s resignation before the bowl victory last year. Holliday is no stranger to success at the collegiate ranks, as he was a member of the 2006 Urban Meyer Florida staff that won a national championship over the Ohio State Buckeyes.

History is on Buck’s Side:

As the saying goes, those who do not learn from the past, are destined to repeat it. If repeating history is in the Buckeyes’ future, they should be smiling from ear to ear.

The numbers in this match-up regarding previous meetings, and recent trades tilt the scales nearly completely in Ohio States’ favor. Marshall is 0-5 against the Big Ten conference, and has lost 10 straight season openers on the road. Even worse, Marshall has not had any luck with ranked opponents, and you have to go back to 2003 to find the last Thunder Herd victory over a ranked squad (Kansas). Since 2005, Marshall is winless in 13 attempts against BCS opponents.

And then there is the modest winning-streak Ohio State has in opening games at the Horseshoe, dating back to 1978, a contest that Penn State won 19-0.

The only glimmer of hope for Marshall resides in the last game between themselves and the Ohio State University. These two schools last met back in 2004, a game in which the Buckeyes won on a last second field goal, by a final of 24-21. A game similar to that score would be a bit too close for comfort in the eyes of the Buckeye faithful, looking ahead to Miami.

Gameplan: Stay Healthy:

It is clear the Buckeyes would love to use the extra rest in between the Marshall Thursday night contest, and the big showdown with the Miami Hurricanes on September 11th. With that the case, look for the Buckeyes to get some rest to the banged up and weary, if they get up big on the Herd early.

If Ohio State leaves Thursday’s game with a win, and feel as if they have not over-extended any of their players, then it will be a true victory heading into a long and important week of preparation.

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