The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

September 10, 2013

New faces helping lead Marshall’s defensive surge

Last season, Marshall was tied for 73rd in the nation in turnover margin, giving the ball away 20 times in 12 games.

Through two games this year, the Thundering Herd is in the top 10 at plus-5, an average of 2.5 per game.

What has been the biggest difference early on?

“I think we have about 14 different faces out there making those plays,” Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said matter-of-factly after last Saturday’s 55-0 win over Gardner-Webb. “If you look at the guys (coming up with) those turnovers, most of them weren’t out there playing a year ago.”

A look at the final numbers, particularly the Gardner-Webb game, prove that. In a nightmare for the team’s statistical crew, 34 players were listed on the defensive stat sheet (one was receiver Devon Smith, who was credited with a tackle after a Rakeem Cato interception).

Of those 34, 13 did not play a single down in 2012.

Three of them led the Herd (2-0) in tackles against the Runnin’ Bulldogs: tackle Josh Brown (six tackles, one sack), end Gary Thompson (six tackles, one fumble recovery) and defensive back Corey Tindal (five stops, fumble recovery).

All three are redshirt freshmen.

In all, six true freshmen have played, thus burning their redshirts barring injury.

“There are a lot of new faces out there and the coaches have done a great job of coaching them up,” Holliday said. “When you play extremely hard, good things will happen for you. Those guys played hard out there tonight and that’s good to see.”

Andre Scott, a redshirt freshman who is listed as a receiver but played on defense, also had an interception and returned it 27 yards. Junior end Arnold Blackmon had one sack.

Another redshirt freshman, cornerback A.J. Leggett, made his first career interception against Gardner-Webb. Leggett had to miss all of last season because of shoulder surgery.

“It feels great to be out there with my team,” said Leggett, who was joined by his son, A.J. Jr., in the postgame press conference. “I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

There is still a veteran influence on the defense. Cornerback Monterius Lovett, a redshirt senior, turned his sixth career interception into a 70-yard touchdown return.

Then there’s James Rouse, a 6-foot-5, 268-pound tackle who maybe feels as if he’s playing his first season. The redshirt senior has missed most of the last two seasons because of back issues and a torn Achilles.

But he’s been just fine this year and has four tackles, including a sack, through the first two games.

“I’m blessed to be out there,” Rouse said. “I don’t take anything for granted. You don’t really get to know how good the college atmosphere is until you have it.”

n n n

Marshall’s game at Virginia Tech on Saturday, Sept. 21, in Blacksburg, Va., will kick off at noon, according to Marshall’s official website,

The game will be broadcast but a network has yet to be determined.

— E-mail: gfauber@

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 072414 WV Open.jpg Familiarity with Cobb helps Hess take lead

    It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Kenny Hess is comfortable playing the Cobb Course at Glade Springs Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Golf and motocross are Jude’s passions

    Motocross and golf have very little in common.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU’s Worley clear starter at cornerback

    There were few bright spots in West Virginia University’s 4-8 football campaign last year, and even fewer on the defensive side of the football, where the Mountaineers gave up more than 455 yards and 33 points per game.

    July 24, 2014

  • How to discover and love Major League Soccer

    When I began my soccer fandom following a missions trip to Brazil in 2000, I didn’t know what my next step was. I knew I loved watching the game, but there weren’t a lot of options for seeing it in the U.S. I knew of Major League Soccer — mostly from my friend and current FC Dallas beat writer Drew Epperley — but it was hard to find.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holgorsen to appear on ESPN special

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen will appear Wednesday on ESPN’s annual mid-summer college football coaches’ “car wash” — in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 brand Bradshaw or the field?

    If a betting window were set up on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs for the 81st West Virginia Open Championship, which begins at 8 a.m. this morning, the most popular wager would probably be David Bradshaw against the field.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league

    Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 justice Home sweet home away from home

    When Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was handed a copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Sunday, his eyes lit up like a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on a cold December night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072314 miners Miners take series with Paints

    The way the West Virginia Miners see it, they don’t have the luxury of planning for tomorrow.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Saints Training Camp