The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

October 9, 2012

After bye, Herd looks for another late surge

Marshall has proven to be a second half team under coach Doc Holliday.

Not the last 30 minutes of a game. Rather, the final six games of a season.

Just as they were at this point last season, the Thundering Herd are 2-4 through the first half of 2012. That includes a 1-1 record in Conference USA — just like last year.

But each of Holliday’s first two seasons saw Marshall finish with four wins in its final six regular season games. The Herd finished 5-7 in 2010, but improved to 7-6 last year, earning a bowl bid that turned out to be a win over Florida International in the St. Petersburg Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.

To hear quarterback Rakeem Cato talk, nothing short of a 6-0 run will be acceptable.

“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “I’ve never been a loser in my life. I’ve always had the passion for winning and I know all the players on our team do.

“We have to stop saying that we will get them next series or on the next drive. It’s time right now. We have to start winning now.

“We have no more room for losing at all.”

The Herd has a well-placed bye week before visiting Southern Miss on Oct. 20. Holliday said he will give the players a few days off before getting back to work.

There will be plenty of time to focus on the Golden Eagles, who have struggled to an 0-5 start under first-year coach Ellis Johnson. More pressing for now, however, will be working on finding a way to improve a few areas that have contributed to the Herd’s two-win start.

n Stopping the run. Marshall is 10th in C-USA against the run, allowing 229 rushing yards per game. Tulsa ran for 250 against the Herd, carrying on 53 of 70 total offensive plays.

n Turnovers. The Herd has turned the ball over 12 times — six fumbles, six interceptions — and has gained just five. The turnovers have often proved deadly — two interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries have been returned for touchdowns.

n Finishing. In order to be taken seriously as a true conference contender, Marshall has to win the close games. True, the Herd did survive an overtime shootout at Rice, but the loss to Ohio was decided by a Bobcat interception in the end zone, and the Herd could have tied the game against Tulsa but turned the ball over on downs twice in the final 3:32.

“(The players) fight and get after it, but it’s all about winning football games,” Holliday said. “Here at Marshall, we expect to win those games. We have to find a way to finish games and find a way to win in the end. We didn’t do that today.”

Cato, only a sophomore, is taking it upon himself to get the players all on the same page.

“We have to win not only for ourselves, but for the (fans),” Cato said. Win for the people in the stands. They don’t have to come to our games. We are doing this for them. I don’t think people realize that. We play for the ‘M’ on the side of our helmets. Sooner or later we have to win. We have to win for those people or they aren’t going to come to our games.”

“Our whole side (East Division) is still wide open,” Holliday said. “We start with Southern Miss in two weeks and go right down the line. These are good kids. They are going to come back, they are going to go to work and work extremely hard. We’ve got a lot of football left to play.”

— E-mail: gfauber@

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 spartans LOCAL ROUNDUP: Spartans win Spring Break Wooden Bat Classic

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • St. Joe’s Lewis named 2014 High School Coach of the Year

    Huntington St. Joseph girls basketball coach Shannon Lewis has made a habit of celebrating success in Charleston over the last few years.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814 Sisler Diamond Classic continues today

    Fayetteville pitcher Kaitlyn Sisler pitched five innings of shutout softball as the Pirates beat Oak Hill 10-0 Wednesday in the Diamond Classic in Fayetteville.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014