Ohio (2-0) at Marshall (1-1)
6:30 p.m. today, Joan C. Edwards Stadium (38,019, FieldTurf), Huntington
Line: Ohio by 6
Series: Ohio leads 30-19-6
Last game: Ohio 44, Marshall 7, Sept. 17, 2011 at Athens, Ohio
Tickets: Plenty available, $25-35
Weather: Mostly clear, light winds, temperature 72 at kickoff
On the spot
D.J. Hunter, Marshall strong-side linebacker: Hunter was moved down from strong safety, where he remains a second-team option. His nose for the ball was a plus against Western Carolina; now we'll see if he can shed blocks against a beefier Ohio team.
Marques Aiken, Marshall defensive tackle: Not necessarily singling out the veteran, but this line needs a big game. If the Herd is going to stunt the Bobcats attack, it starts here, even if the tackle stats don't show it.
Grant Venham, Ohio punter: This is a phase Marshall can and should wear the Bobcats out. Venham is averaging 38 yards per punt with three inside the 20-yard line, but the net is not great - foes have returned four of his five punts for a 12.3 average, and he has had one blocked. Marshall has blocked one punt, with more expected this season.
Stats 'n' such
Assuming Ohio scores even a safety, this will be the 100th consecutive game that Marshall has not recorded a shutout, dating back to Nov. 28, 2003. The last victim was the Bobcats, 28-0. ... The Herd has won the last seven meetings in Huntington, dating back to a 49-27 loss on Sept. 10, 1977. ... The Herd has won four home games in a row, dating back to the 2011 game against Virginia Tech. ... Bobcat fans should travel a little better today - last week they set a Peden Stadium record with 25,893 fans. Ohio sold its allotment of 300, not always a given ... Not only has Ohio outscored foes 51-10 in second halves, the Bobcats are outgaining them 578-167.
In the stat rankings: The Herd rules the land in passing yardage after two games, averaging a cool 429 yards per outing. It is sixth in total offense (580), eighth in net punting (44.6) and 15th in scoring offense (43). Conversely, the Herd is 115th in scoring defense (46.5), 110th in scoring defense (495) and 107th in rushing defense (237.5). Rakeem Cato is fourth in total offense (409.5). ... The Bobcats are 14th in total offense (541.5), 18th in turnover margin (plus-1.5) and 20th in pass effiency rating (162.66), but are 105th in net punting (32.8). Beau Blankenship is eighth in rushing (138.5) and Matt Weller is 10th in field goals made (2.0).
Milestones: MU's Aaron Dobson has 22 career touchdown receptions. One more ties him for fifth in the Herd's all-time list with Tim Martin (1993-95), Josh Davis (2001-04) and Cody Slate (2006-09). Cato already has lifted his completion percentage to 63.0, which would put him third behind Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington. ... Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton has completed 94 in a row without an interception. He needs nine completions and 237 total yards to enter the school's top five in those categories.
188 Number of combined scrimmage plays in the game. Whether the team with the upper hand has the upper hand on the scoreboard is up in the air.
4.0 Average yards per rush, by either team. Marshall averages 4.3 when a 22-yard loss on a bad snap is removed; Ohio averages 4.8.
Completely useless trivia
Ohio's 44-7 slobber-knocking of the Herd was the largest margin of victory in the series since the Bobcats' 48-8 win in 1968. Both games were in Athens. Marshall has never won by more than the 34-3 margin in the 1999 game.
Marshall opens its eighth Conference USA schedule, facing that 0-for-Texas streak right off the bat with a trip to Rice - a team at least good enough to beat Kansas with a last-play field goal. That game begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT, airing on Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast. The Herd is 0-8 in the Lone Star State. ... Ohio returns home next weekend, dropping down a division and taking on Norfolk State at 2 p.m. Saturday, airing on the Internet on ESPN3.
- By Doug Smock