Beating Marshall is ‘measuring stick’

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There’s more than enough to admire about Marshall.

It will have the attention of Louisiana Tech on Saturday (7 p.m., CBS Sports Network)  at Joe Aillet Stadium.

The seven points the defense allows per games is tied for the best mark in FBS. It ranks 10th overall in total defense. Junior running back Brendan Knox averages more than 100 yards per game on the ground at 110, the 15th best rate in the nation.

Marshall (3-0, 1-0 CUSA) has five seniors across the offensive line, including four returning starters. And freshman sensation quarterback Grant Wells has filled the missing dimension for the offense in the aerial attack from previous seasons.

“They are a really good team,” Louisiana Tech senior receiver Cee Jay Powell said. “They’re playing real confident, fast, smart and physical. Everything we aspire to be. If we want to compete with the likes of teams like Marshall, this will be a good test for us.”

Sep 19, 2020; Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA; Louisiana Tech Bulldogs quarterback Luke Anthony (9) is defended by Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles linebacker Santrell Latham (6) in the second quarter at M. M. Roberts Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

How the Thundering Herd have been able to execute – like knocking off a then-ranked Appalachian State by 10 points – exudes a level of play that Group of Five teams, not only just Tech, long to capture.

Admittedly through four games, the Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0) are still searching that Marshall level of consistency. The offense, more specifically the passing game with junior quarterback Luke Anthony, had looked fairly efficient in its first two games versus Southern Miss and Houston Baptist. However, the Bulldogs have taken a step back, struggling against then-No. 22 BYU in what Skip Holtz called “one of the worst offensive performances” in his Tech tenure in a 21-17 win over visiting UTEP.

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