Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
Marshall running back Darius Marshall is the nation’s leading rusher, but beyond him, the Marshall offense has been ineffectual.
The Thundering Herd rank 112th in the country in passing offense with just 158.60 yards per game. That poor passing game helped contribute to last week’s crucial 21-17 loss to East Carolina, and coach Mark Snyder knows that he’ll have to get his passing game going if his team wants to have a chance at the Conference USA East title.
“It starts with protection,” Snyder said during his weekly news conference. “You want to stay ahead of the chains. You would like to throw the ball when you want to throw the ball, not when you have to throw the ball, and that is what I mean by staying in front of the chains.”
In the first half of last week’s game against East Carolina, Marshall quarterback Brian Anderson was 3-of-9 for just 10 yards. He finished the day 16-of-31 for 127 yards. Part of that was East Carolina’s pass defense, which played its best game against the pass since facing Appalachian State at the beginning of the season. But it was also a breakdown in Marshall’s protection. The Pirates had a sack and were credited with seven quarterback hurries.
With the exception of throwing for 316 yards in the season opener, Marshall hasn’t thrown for more than 127 yards this season.
Marshall might have better luck this week against a Tulane pass defense that is holding opponents to 194.75 yards per game. The Thundering Herd also should be able to run the ball against the Green Wave’s porous rushing defense. It’s allowed at least 200 yards in three of its four games this season. Army had 196 last week. The Green Wave have allowed 10 touchdowns on the ground as opposed to just four through the air.
It’s likely that Tulane will concentrate its efforts on stopping the running game, giving Anderson an opportunity to get the passing game some confidence.