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Reynoldscharlote

Charlotte quarterback Chris Reynolds has completed 65% of his passes for 2,277 yards with 21 TDs and six interceptions.

HUNTINGTON — Marshall did not play Charlotte last season, but many of the Thundering Herd’s veterans certainly know the name Chris Reynolds.

Reynolds played a leading role when the 49ers defeated the Herd 24-19 in 2019, an upset that knocked Marshall out of the Conference USA football East Division title chase.

Fast-forward two years and Marshall (6-4 overall, 4-2 C-USA) is in a similar scenario, heading to Charlotte (5-5, 3-3) needing to win out to earn the East Division title. Kickoff Saturday is set for 3:30 p.m. at Jerry Richardson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Once again, to stay in the race, the Herd will have to keep wraps on Reynolds, which is no easy task, given his ability to make an array of throws and also use his legs. As Reynolds goes, so, too, do the 49ers. It’s that simple.

Reynolds has completed 65% of his passes for 2,277 yards with 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

“He understands when defenses are in a certain coverage or a certain look where the ball is supposed to go,” Marshall head coach Charles Huff said of Reynolds. “He trusts his ability and he’s not out there guessing or he’s not out there trying to make throws that aren’t there.”

The strength of Reynolds’ game is that he can extend plays with his feet while maintaining focus downfield to keep plays in the passing game alive.

“Once he’s out of the pocket, he still gives you the threat to throw and not just throw down the field,” Huff said. “You know, he’ll throw in the flat, dump it off, which to me is a quarterback that understands where his players are.”

Grant DuBose leads the team in receptions (47), yards (728) and touchdowns (five), while Victor Tucker is a player Marshall fans will recall for his 2019 performance in which he finished with five catches for 121 yards, including a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Reynolds to key the victory.

That game was played in a steady downpour and five of Reynolds’ nine completions were to Tucker.

Reynolds also displayed his toughness in that contest, carrying the ball 25 times for 145 yards and a score.

“Their quarterback is scrappy as all can be,” Huff said.

Huff said that Reynolds’ knowledge and execution of the run-pass option game makes Charlotte’s offense a dangerous one to try to defend.

Reynolds is able to read the defensive keys and get the play going quickly, so Huff is urging his team to perfect its fundamentals defensively this week in practice.

“We’ve got to have our eyes in the right place,” Huff said. “Eye discipline is going to be a big one for this week.”

Marshall’s defense has done a good job as a whole in keeping the opposition at bay for much of the season, but big plays have crept up against the Herd — especially last week against UAB when the Blazers got some chunk plays through the air.

Once again, eliminating those plays is the focus, which will be hard to do against Reynolds, who’s as complete a quarterback as there is in Conference USA.

Grant Traylor is the sports editor of The Herald-Dispatch and covers Marshall athletics for HD Media. Follow on Twitter @GrantTraylor.