Marshall is in the middle of a crazy conference — the Sun Belt Conference. But the historically strong Thundering Herd are solid, too. How much can they affect things? We will tell you, below.
MARSHALL 2023 PREVIEW
THE CONF.: Sun Belt Conference (East Division)
2022 RECORD: 9-4 (won against UConn in Myrtle Beach Bowl)
CONF. FINISH: 5-3 (3rd in Sun Belt in East Division)
HEAD COACH: Charles Huff (3rd year, 16-10; 3rd overall)
ALL-STAR CANDIDATES: Rasheen Ali, Soph./RB (1,401 career rushing yards); Owen Porter, Sr./DE (60 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 9 hurries); Micah Abraham, Sr./CB (36 tackles, 10 PBUs); Ethan Driskell, Jr./OT (13 starts last year); Eli Neal, Sr./LB (leading tackler, 98 tackles, 9 hurries, 6.5 TBUs).
THE NEWCOMER: Lloyd Willis, Jr./OL (25 games played at Florida State)
Marshall's offense looked pretty strong, with a returning dual-threat QB in Cam Fancher (just short of 3,000 yards of offense - 1,000 yards rushing 2,000 yards passing). The defense was brutally stingy, too, but only returns four starters — but they include leading tackler Eli Neal at middle linebacker. It's kind of like the quarterbacks of both sides of the ball are back. Marshall has some things going its way. It may not give up only 16 points a game like last year, but it will probably score more than the 25 points per game last year — which combined got it into position to win the Myrtle Beach Bowl.
Marshall is traditionally a winner, but there's nothing easy about winning consistently in the Sun Belt Conference. Still, the Thundering Herd have made six straight bowl games. There's no reason to believe it won't 'happen again.
THE KEY GAME AND WHY
James Madison at home on Oct. That's a biggie for the Thundering Herd.
THE TOUGHEST GAME AND WHY
The trip to NC State on Oct. 7 should be the toughest, and the P5 matchup at home vs. Virginia Tech (Sept. 23) won't be easy. But Marshall can play with both programs.
THE CHANCES OF MAKING CONF. TITLE GAME
Not likely, but possible. Games against James Madison (home), at App State, and at South Alabama would be key.
Marshall should once again be one of the top programs at the Group of Five level. Expect a bowl game, but getting to the Sun Belt title game seems like a stretch.
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