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

and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 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

  • Turnbull’s tenure dominates WVU wrestling history

    Did Oliver Luck really do a thorough job in deeply evaluating Craig Turnbull’s 36-year career as wrestling coach before firing him?

    April 17, 2014

  • WVU’s top football prospects working out for NFL teams

    As we draw ever closer to the NFL Draft, the prospect workouts for teams are picking up steam for former Mountaineers. Both running back Charles Sims and defensive end Will Clarke have a busy road ahead.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041814 james monroe Crusaders make history in loss to James Monroe

    The first season for Greater Beckley Christian’s baseball team has been met with growing pains — to say the least.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041714 millard Kickoff time set for WVU-Alabama

    West Virginia football fans can now start counting down to the exact minute, instead of just the day.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Questions raised about Turnbull’s firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.

    April 17, 2014

  • Gettin’ ready for gobbler season: Step 4 — the setup

    This just in — in a recent study on turkey hunting and turkey hunters it was found that 98.7 percent of the time when hunters were unsuccessful when calling in a gobbler, the hunter made some mistake during the last 50 yards of the bird’s approach.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 wright Former Red Devil star realizing dream of playing D-I basketball

    When former Oak Hill High School standout Kalif Wright was a kid, he would play EA Sports’ NCAA March Madness video games and dream of one day getting a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • McClung moving from mound to dugout

    Seth McClung was getting his daughters Madison and Fallon inside and ready for their baths when his phone rang. He’s said before that he enjoys the role of “daddy day care.”

    April 15, 2014