Gardner-Webb (1-0) at Marshall (1-0) 6 p.m. todayJoan C. Edwards Stadium (38,227, FieldTurf), Huntington
TV: noneLine: Marshall by 421/2.Series: First meeting.Tickets: Plenty available, $25-$35, $10 off online only until noon. Ticket office hours: Henderson Center 1-4:30 p.m.; stadium box offices 4:30 to game time.Weather: Sunny, less humid, 80 at kickoff.
On the spotJeremiah Taylor and Alex Bazzie, Marshall defensive ends: At some point, you'd have to think their efforts would finally end up in some big numbers. They combined for 171/2 tackles for loss and 71/2 sacks in 2012, but were blanked in those categories against Miami.Lucas Beatty, Gardner-Webb quarterback: In his last game against an FBS foe, he went 14 of 22 for 95 yards against Pittsburgh and was sacked three times.
Stats 'n' suchMarshall is first in the FBS statistical rankings in passing yardage (365). The Herd leads Conference USA in total offense (578), scoring offense (52) and passer efficiency rating (174.32). Tommy Shuler's nine receptions put him atop the FBS rankings. ... Gardner-Webb leads the Big South in punt return average (24.5).Milestones: Rakeem Cato has 6,513 career passing yards, 142 behind sixth-place Carl Fodor on MU's all-time list. Cato has thrown 57 touchdown passes, four behind fourth-place Todd Donnan, and his 6,635 total yards puts him in seventh place, 70 behind Bernard Morris and 85 behind John Gregory. Cato's 66.2 percent completion percentage remains more than a percentage point ahead of No. 2 Byron Leftwich (65.1 percent).
Over-unders41/2 Sacks for the Marshall defense, which had just one sack against Miami.125 Total yards for Gardner-Webb in the first three quarters. After that, the number of cornhole games played in the stadium's West Lot.Completely useless triviaGardner-Webb advanced to the 1992 NAIA finals by defeating Concord 28-21 and Shepherd 22-7. Here is the off-the-wall stat of that quarterfinal game against the Mountain Lions: The Bulldogs threw eight interceptions and fumbled three times. The Bulldogs were much more efficient against Shepherd in a 22-7 win in the semifinals.Next
The stakes get considerably higher next Saturday for the Herd, which travels to nearby rival and recent nemesis Ohio for an 8 p.m. game on - get this - ESPNNews. The last time Marshall walked into Peden Stadium, it exited with its collective tail between its legs. Gardner-Webb remains at Boiling Springs, N.C., next week, battling FCS 15th-ranked Richmond in and ESPN3 (internet) game.