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September 24, 2012

First Look: Marshall





Coming off a bye week, Purdue returns home this weekend to face Marshall at 3:15 p.m. in Ross-Ade Stadium.

Here is a quick look at the Thundering Herd. GoldandBlack.com will have much more on the opponent throughout the week.

Marshall (2-2) can flat-out score, averaging 41 points and 561 yards per game, coming off a 54-51 double-overtime win at Rice in its Conference USA opener.

Quarterback Rakeem Cato leads the nation in passing yards - by more than a hundred over No. 2 - with 1,481. His 10 touchdown passes are tied for second-most nationally. His 200 attempts are one fewer than NCAA leader Dalton Williams of Akron.

Cato's completing 71 percent of his passes and has thrown only two interceptions on those 200 attempts.

Wide receiver Aaron Dobson is coming off a 12-touchdown junior season. He's battled injury this season, but has caught 29 passes for 313 yards and a pair of scores already.

As potent as Marshall's been on offense, it's been equally generous on defense. Thanks in large part to the 69 points it yielded in a loss to West Virginia, the Thundering Herd has actually been outscored on the season, as opponents have averaged 42.8 points against it.

Opponents are averaging 5.7 yards per rushing attempt against the Herd.

Rice torched Marshall with big plays in Houston this past weekend, as its first five touchdowns covered 30 or more yards.

Marshall's running game is without its leading rusher from last season, Tron Martinez, because of an ankle injury.

Its leading rusher from the first three games, Travon Van, was moved to the secondary for the Rice game.

Redshirt freshmen Remi Watson, Kevin Grooms and Steward Butler all splitting work in the backfield now.

After getting rolled by West Virginia in Week 1, Marshall's other loss was a close 27-24 affair against Ohio, which is 4-0 and won at Penn State in the season opener.

Marshall's offensive coordinator is former Purdue offensive line coach and OC Bill Legg, who left the staff in 2008 when Danny Hope was brought in to be Joe Tiller's successor-in-waiting.




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