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Three keys: Little Caesars Bowl

12/26/2009

Marshall (6-6)

1.Run the ball: Marshall star running back Darius Marshall missed the last two games with a high ankle sprain, but should be back to 100 percent for the Little Caesars Bowl. Marshall is the team’s best running back, and going against a running defense that has been suspect at times, Marshall might be the spark the Thundering Herd need in this game.

2.Ignore coaching rumors: Marshall is playing this game with a lame-duck coaching staff, but it needs to focus on sending those coaches out on a high note. New head coach Doc Holliday has not yet said whether he’ll retain any of the current members of the coaching staff, so this could be an audition.

3.Contain Scott: Ohio quarterback Theo Scott has used the past couple of weeks to heal and should be healthy in this game. He has the ability to break contain and make plays with his feet, which could wreak havoc on a Herd defense that hasn’t been great against mobile quarterbacks. Marshall needs to spy Scott and force him to pass.

Ohio (9-4)

1.Comfy surroundings: One of the major advantages for the Bobcats in this game is that they played in this venue in the Mid-American Conference championship game a couple of weeks ago and won’t be awestruck by the size of it. Ohio didn’t win that game, but it seemed to get more comfortable as the game progressed.

2.Use Brazill: One of the most dangerous players on the field today will be receiver LaVon Brazill, who is not only the team’s second-leading receiver, but the best punt returner. Brazill already has three punt returns for touchdowns. He was banged-up in the MAC championship game, but said he’s ready to go. He should find success against a Marshall team that already has given up a punt return for a touchdown this season.

3.Watch the pass: While Marshall is better known for its running game, it does have a couple of receivers who could give Ohio fits in this game. Antavious Wilson and Aaron Dobson both have come on late this season and could prove troublesome. The Bobcats have been good against the pass most of this season and will need to draw on that today.