The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

December 4, 2013

Running games move to the front

Rice, Marshall are top 2 in Conference USA

One team has the league’s top rushing attack. The other has the No. 1 overall offense, thanks in part to a ground game that is much improved from last year.

Good thing Rice Stadium has FieldTurf. Natural grass on the first weekend of December might not hold up under this kind of wear and tear.

Sans its lapse at Middle Tennessee State in October, Marshall’s defense has also been much improved. But the Thundering Herd will face another challenge from Rice and its vaunted offense at noon Saturday in the Conference USA championship at noon. The game will be aired on ESPN2.

Rice leads C-USA in rushing, averaging 240.3 yards per game. As would be expected, the Owls also have the top rusher in the conference. That would be Charles Ross, who checks in at 114.3 yards and has scored 12 touchdowns, also a league best.

But senior quarterback Taylor McHargue is also a threat in the run game. He has 437 yards on the ground.

"He's a big guy that is extremely physical,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. “If we can't stop the run then we have no chance. It’s going to come down to that again.

“Ross and McHargue both have the ability to run the ball. That’s the reason they are leading the conference in rushing is because of the people they have up front and those guys with the ball in their hands are good.”

McHargue can also throw the ball, so defenses have to stay honest. He has completed 153 of 193 passes for 2,070 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also has been picked off eight times.

Last year, Marshall beat the Owls 54-51 in double overtime despite a career day from McHargue, who ran for 153 yards and a touchdown, while also throwing for 314 yards and three scores.

“If you go back to last year, (McHargue) ran through us and around us,” Holliday said. “Of course, we are a different defense than we were a year ago. We couldn't stop anybody a year ago.

“We have great respect for him because he is a very talented individual. When you talk about Rice's offense it starts with McHargue. He makes them go and does a great job at doing it.”

The Herd, meanwhile, is second in the league in rushing at 219.9. Holliday and his staff have made a concentrated effort to be a more balanced offense.

“We’ve been able to do that this year. We're a much better offense than we were a year ago because we’ve been more balanced and been able to run the ball as much as we throw it,” Holliday said. “Hopefully, we can get that done again on Saturday because whenever we've been able to run the football, there’s no doubt that we are a better football team overall.”

— E-mail: gfauber

@register-herald.com

and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber

1
Text Only
Latest Sports
  • cato Word is out on Marshall's Cato

    Rakeem Cato is easily the face of Marshall football, carrying the Thundering Herd into a season heaped with expectations.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • bush Bush making Saints look good

    For his first four seasons, Rafael Bush was simply looking to land on a roster — any roster.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice, not temps, heats up for Saints
    The temperatures may have only been in the low 70s Tuesday afternoon at the Saints new practice facility at The Greenbrier, but now a third of the way into the 15 practices, it’s clear that the heat has turned up with playing time and positions on the line.
     

    July 30, 2014

  • Bowles has a support system
    Corey Bowles knows a thing or two about being successful at sports.

    July 30, 2014

  • Terre Haute hands Miners 2-1 loss in 11 innings

    Ryan Sabo singled home Clayton Smithson in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Rex to the win and put the West Virginia Miners’ postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.

    July 30, 2014

  • WVU’s Smallwood waives preliminary hearing

    West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood, arrested on a felony charge of witness intimidation in a first-degree murder case, waived his preliminary hearing Monday, his case now being moved to Superior Court, where more serious crimes are argued, according to The News Journal.

    July 29, 2014

  • Steelers LB Spence caps lengthy comeback

    The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.

    July 29, 2014

  • After years of drama, Redskins enjoy a calm camp

    The Washington Redskins are the team that gave us Michael Westbrook punching Stephen Davis, Dan Snyder landing his helicopter during practices, Albert Haynesworth turning the conditioning test into a sideshow and Mike Shanahan using the podium to remind everyone that he was Robert Griffin III's boss.

    July 29, 2014

  • ingram Run game a point of emphasis for Saints as camp continues

    The New Orleans Saints did a lot of things right in 2013.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • gibson Gibson gets a different perspective at Greenbrier

    Tony Gibson is no stranger to a football sideline.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Saints Training Camp