In Week 9, the UTEP Miners travel to Huntington, West Virginia, to take on the Thundering Herd. Sometimes you have to ask, how insane is it that UTEP has a conference game in Huntington, West Virginia? It's 1,635 miles from El Paso to Huntington! Road trip? Not unless you want to drive for 27 hours.
Last year, the Herd's 21-25 loss at UTEP was considered such an embarrassment in Huntington that the game literally cost their coach, Mark Snyder, his job. He was fired (or asked to resign) less than 24 hours after the UTEP victory even though the Herd finished 6-6 and qualified for the Little Caesars $5 Hot-N-Ready Pizza Bowl. Get this; Snyder was the head coach at Marshall for five seasons and finally, in year 5, he got the Herd into a bowl game. Then, he was fired before the game was played. Ouch.
Snyder was replaced by the coach with quite possible the coolest name in all of college athletics; Doc Holliday. Doc's never been a head coach but he's been around the block as a longtime assistant at West Virginia. He has been served as the associate head coach at Florida, and again at WVU, before being hired at Marshall.
The Herd are very, very difficult to beat at home. They have gone an amazing 118-19 since opening their stadium in 1991. Think about that- 118-19 in nearly 20 seasons. Last year, the Herd beat SMU at home to become bowl eligible.
The Herd also bring back their starting quarterback Brian Anderson. Anderson was good, not great, in his junior campaign. He completed 58% of his passes for over 2,600 yards but he had just 14 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.
On defense, linebacker Mario Harvey is one of the best in the country. He's on the Nagursky and Lombardy Trophy Watch Lists. Last season he had 117 yards and 8.5 sacks.
Marshall will aim to knock off UTEP who has a heck of a trip out to West Virginia. The Herd have the talent to play in a bowl game, again, but will be adjusting to a new head coach with no head coaching experience.
Who ya got?