— By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — It’s time to start conference play for Marshall, which meets Old Dominion in a Sun Belt battle at 3:30 p.m. Saturday inside Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
The game can be seen on ESPN+.
After last week’s 24-17 win over Virginia Tech in Huntington, Marshall head coach Charles Huff is hoping there won’t be a repeat of a letdown from a year ago. Huff didn’t like the way his team handled a win at Notre Dame in September 2022, which was followed by consecutive losses at Bowling Green and Troy.
Marshall (3-0) and the Monarchs (2-2, 1-0) have met eight times previous times, with the Herd winning seven, including last season in Norfolk, Va., 12-0.
Here are three things to look for Saturday:
Limiting Jason Henderson’s disruption
The ODU defense has a game-change in the junior from Dingman’s Ferry, Pennsylvania.
He’s the preseason Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year and his early season performances have been impressive. Henderson had 17 tackles, including three for loss and 1.5 sacks in last week’s narrow win over Texas A&M-Commerce. He’s had 17 career games with double-digit tackles, including three this season.
Henderson has 60 tackles in four games and the quickness and strength to be disruptive throughout the afternoon. MU offensive coordinator Clint Trickett will do his part to limit Henderson’s impact.
Settling the kicking game
A final determination should come this week as to who will be Marshall’s placekicker.
Sophomore Rece Verhoff took care of the job against Albany and Virginia Tech, while Kameron Lake handled the role in the win at East Carolina.
Special teams coordinator Johnathan Galante and Huff have been concerned about a lack of consistency among the kickers, especially an inability to hit longer field goals. Verhoff is 1-for-3 on the season, with his only make last week against Virginia Tech.
Lake was 1-for-2 on field goals against the Pirates.
Verhoff has the stronger leg and takes care of Marshall’s kickoffs.
Huff and Galante are hoping one kicker will figure things out and prove to be dependable when Marshall needs to put points on the board by way of its special teams units.
Continuing to get production from transfers
The early reviews on Marshall’s influx of transfers look good as the group has made significant contributions during the team’s 3-0 start.
The most high profile transfer so far has been tight end Cade Conley, who formerly played at Central Michigan.
Conley is the Herd’s top receiver with 14 catches, including seven in his first game in a Marshall uniform against Albany. He averages nearly 11 yards per catch. Conley is also a major help as a blocker in the MU run game.
Another transfer stepping up is Josh Moten. The defensive back, who came to Huntington from Texas A&M, has started most of the season and made crucial plays last weekend as the Hokies attempted a comeback, including knocking down a pass attempt on Tech’s final play of the game.
Jahsen Wint, who previously played at Ohio State, had a fumble recovery against the Hokies and is gaining more playing time.
DeMarcus Harris of Kentucky is turning out to be a major addition to the MU offense and had a big impact against Albany and Virginia Tech, including scoring Marshall’s first touchdown against the Hokies on a 12-yard reception from quarterback Cam Fancher.