HUNTINGTON, W.Va.— Rice head coach David Bailiff believes Marshall should be included in the same conversation with the likes of Texas A&M and Notre Dame.

The Owls faced the Aggies and Fighting Irish earlier this year and lost in similar fashion to the 24th and 18th ranked teams in the College Football Playoff rankings.

The rematch of last year’s Conference USA Championship game was supposed to be a close battle. Rice had won six in a row, was allowing fewer than three yards per rush in the six wins. The defense was only giving up 17 points a game over the course of the streak.

Yet, it turned into another Marshall blowout, as the Herd dispatched the Owls 41-14, rushing for 284 yards along the way. Devon Johnson averaged 7.4 yards per carry.

“We came here expecting to win. They out played us. We have played (Texas) A&M and we have played Notre Dame. Marshall is right up there with those guys,” Rice coach David Baliff said after the game. “They are explosive offensively and we couldn’t stop them.”

Marshall’s 581 yards of total offense were more than either Notre Dame (576) or Texas A&M (477) put up in wins over Rice.

More impressive was Marshall’s defense. The Herd allowed just 180 yards of total offense. The Herd’s Devon Johnson had more rushing yards, 199, than Rice’s entire offense. Compare that to Notre Dame, which allowed 367 yards to Rice and Texas A&M, which allowed 481 yards of total offense.

“I would put that defense right up there with Notre Dame and A&M,” insisted Bailiff. “They have a good solid defense that I don’t remember from a year ago.”

Notre Dame’s Everett Goldston threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns in the Fighting Irish’s 48-17 win over Rice, while Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill threw for 300 yards and four scores.

Rakeem Cato had 299 yards and four touchdowns Saturday night.

Rice wideout Taylor Jordan was forced to sit out games against Notre Dame and Texas A&M but echoed his coach’s assessment.

“I don’t see much of a difference at all. These guys are 21 in the country right now (in the Associated Press and Coaches’ Poll) and in my opinion should move up a little bit.”

Baliff expects to see the Herd in the top 25 Tuesday night when the Playoff Committee releases its new rankings this week.

“We came here expecting to win and we have a good football team. We didn’t play very well tonight, but Marshall is a good football team. They deserve to be ranked.”


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  • Ivegotaherdon

    Let's be honest The Herd does not have a strong schedule but these fans from Southern Pennsylvania University don't have a leg to stand on considering they played all of those years in that power house conference The Big Least. What a joke. And now they play in the Canadian Football League where the entire conference plays no defense. Big 12 joke! Why don't you just extend the field and endzones so your defense can give up 900 yards in the air.

  • Tom m.

    Match em up against Mississippi State and see what happens.

    • Joe Jackson

      Look at this then say the same thing. Too bad WV is so scared of MU beating them that they have to ask for concessions to the games. Head up, every year. Change venues every year. Great for the State, bad for WVU...

  • Big Larry

    The WVU Marshall haters are "green" with envy...

    These people have deep seeded emotional problems that probably resulted from being dropped on their head as a baby...

    My advice to these Marshall haters is this...

    It is perfectly Okay to let your wife & children see you cry the next time Marshall wins...

    • Andy

      You assume we are watching. We aren't, nor is anyone

  • Lee

    At the Rice Game yesterday a WVU fan was there wearing blue and gold and started a fight. He was promptly escorted away by HPD. I don't get it, its good for the state when WVU wins its also good for the state when Marshall wins, since WVU is not getting a positive focus on West Virginia currently, (have you seen the headlines?) Marshall is proud to step up and keep our state in a positive light, Undefeated season, nationally ranked, new hall of fame, new practice facilities. Sure I don't think we can hang with an Oregon or an Alabama not many teams could, but give us a Notre Dame or a Texas A&M or a Longhorn for that matter we'll give it a try

    • Aaron

      I questioned several friends at the game yesterday including an administrator at the University and none had any idea of an incident with a fan wearing WVU gear at the game as you claim. I've been to several games at Marshall, seen numerous fans wearing WVU gear and never seen a problem. Do you have anything to substantiate your claim?

  • steph7204

    To all the haters out there: yes, Marshall needs to strengthen their schedule and play some "big boy" teams to get true respect nationally. However statistics don't lie. The Herd is a power house this year on both sides of the ball. They DESERVE a spot in the play offs! As far as WVU is concerned, I support and root for both teams since I am a born and bred West Virginian. Although they don't want to "waste" a spot in their schedule each year to play Marshall and continue the Friends Of Coal Bowl, they sure do spend a lot of time thinking about and spouting hate about Marshall. Its sad and shameful. I would have loved to see a game between them this year because I know without a doubt Marshall would have whooped their ass! Then they would really have something to whine about!

    • Aaron

      "They DESERVE a spot in the play offs!"

      As one who has supported Marshall for a very long time, I have no problem stating that under the current play-off system, Marshall does not deserve to be considered for a play-off spot. Much of the evaluation of contenders is based on strength of schedule, to the point that an 11-1 OSU team will have trouble generating support, as will Baylor in jumping TCU, a team they defeated on the field. Playing the 126th toughest schedule in the nation does not warrant play-off consideration.

      It really is that simple.

  • Don Nehlen

    I had the biggest Herd on at the game yesterday with my good friend Bobby. This team would spank any WVU team that I coached. We couldn't win a bowl game to save my life. I'm so thankful to be a MU fan. Go Herd or go home.

    • Hop'sHip

      Next, Coach, you'll tell us that you were wrong and we should have voted for the Democrats.

    • Major Harris

      Coach, I'm right there with you! I was at that game and have been attending games for years. Its just the class Marshall fans have. You know... no throwing trash cans, urine, beer bottles, cussing out kids of the opponents, etc. I wish I would've went to Marshall. Oh well, I can wear my Herd gear proudly! The best team in the state!! Go Herd! #9

    • steph7204

      Thanks coach!! Your sir are a true gentleman.

      • Don Nehlen

        Thank you Steph7204

  • Allan

    Several top 25 teams lost. MU could be in the top 25.

  • Beachwineguy

    Yes, Marshall's schedule is easy, but hey have beaten everyone with ease. It hasn't been a three point squeeker that takes a fluke play. They have one of the top scoring offenses in the country. They have the largest scoring differential in the country. If you only think they have Cato, then you haven't been paying attention because Devon Johnson has the highest yards per carry average in the country. They would win against anyone ranked 15 or below, and would definitely give much of the higher ranked teams a great game. Here's hoping the Herd gets to one of the Championship Series Bowls so they can show everyone who is the real team from West Virginia.

    • Bwahahahahha

      Bwahahhhahahaaaabwahhha...oh my...bwahahhhhhaaa.

  • William

    Marshall's schedule is laughable, laughable, laughable........

    Note what happened to Nebraska yesterday when they finally ran up against one good team. They got slaughtered!

    Can you imagine Marshall playing in a conference with teams that have BIG O linemen? Yeh, that's right. They too would get slaughtered. And, as one person here said, it does have nothing to do with WVU. Marshall would get creamed if it played in a "big boy" conference and everyone except for the dozen or so Marshall fans knows that......

    • Jeff

      Talent goes a long way. MU does have some high caliber players, mostly because they allow non-qualifiers but imagine a team full of 4/5 star talent. They match up at every position. Scoring and stats will not be the same against a top team.

  • Stan the Man

    West Virginians were Mountaineers long before WVU. Any true Mountaineer should wish Marshall the best and be just as proud of them as that team from Morgantown.

    • Ted

      Just like Miami is proud of FSU or Florida. A lot like Texas cheers for Texas A&M. Wait, that doesn't happen either.

  • Indiana Mountaineer

    Your article is exactly right - Marshall is same as Texas A&M and Notre Dame - both out of the top 25 after this week. Marshall needs to schedule tougher competition if they want recognition, it si that simple. It is goign to be even harder for a non-super five conference team to get ranked, as the stakes are higher now that the playoffs are in place. I am sure Marshshall has a good team, but forget about any top ten ranking with that schedule (rated one of easiest of all teams playing).

  • Aaron

    I watched the game for about a half before switching to Mississippi State/Alabama and I have to say, I was impressed with the team. They have a talented offensive line, a sound running game, an aggressive defense that gets after the ball and it's all tied together by an outstanding QB.

    If there is a weakness it is in depth and the lack of a deep threat. They are an outstanding football team and barring a catastrophic injury, would play with any team on any given Saturday.

    I see a lot of jealously here from WVU fans and I don't get it. WVU's season has nothing to do with Marshall so why begrudge them there success. As to the comments regarding the records, that is simply an asinine comment that lacks no foundation other than petty jealousy and ignorance.

    There's my 4 cents on this subject.

    • Big Larry


      That is the most sensible thing I have heard you say in a very long time...

      • Hailey

        Still waiting on one from you

    • Jason

      100% accurate assessment. I think their starters can play with anybody. Depth, especially in the trenches, may be the only weakness against a top 10 team. I think Marshall is about a #15 team right now.

  • RB

    Congratulations Marshall! Go Herd!

  • BlueNGoldnotGreenNWhite

    When does Marshall travel to Wheeling for the AAA Championship game?

    • AAASemiFinal

      Question: When does Marshall travel to Wheeling for the AAA Championship game?

      Answer: After they beat WVU in the semi-final round of the AAA playoffs

  • FNP

    Marshall is gonna get blasted if they make it to a big boy bowl.

    • Luther

      WVU has no chance at even a little boy bowl.

      Have fun watching bowl season on TV.

      • Aaron

        As a bowl eligible in a league with plentiful bowl tie-ins, WVU will not be watching bowl season.

        It seems to me such a comment suggest inklings of an inferiority complex.