2015 Battle for the Bell Preview
The Marshall football season kicked off with a 41-31 victory over Purdue. On the other hand, Ohio kicked off their season with a 45-28 win over Idaho. The 2015 Battle for the Bell contest between Marshall and Ohio University will hopefully be a lot different from last years match-up. In 2014, Marshall beat Ohio 44-14 and at one point in the game led 41-0. This time around the Herd has a different team and a short week, and that could come into play throughout the game Saturday.
What can you expect?
For starters, a much closer game. The Bobcats have an improved offense that will most likely put up more than just two touchdowns this time around.
A lot of big plays. Whenever these two teams face off, it seems like big plays are always given up at some point. In the game against Idaho, Ohio WR Brendan Cope had 4 catches for 129 yards. That’s over 30 yards per catch. That alone is a big play potential from Ohio. On the other side of the ball, Marshall receivers will look to have big games themselves. Deon-tay McManus and Davonte Allen are the big-play guys for the Herd receiving corps. Don’t forget about Devon Johnson in the backfield either. He only had 89 yards against Purdue, but Ohio’s line is much smaller and much more vulnerable.
How Ohio can beat the Herd
If the Bobcats want a chance Saturday, they’ll have to make Marshall one-dimensional, and even that might be a bad idea. Taking away the run game would put more pressure on QB Michael Birdsong. He’s still getting used to the system, and having more pressure on top of that could force some bad decisions and essentially turnovers.
Speaking of turnovers, that’s how Ohio has beaten Marshall 3 of the past 4 times. This goes back a few years, but in 2011, Cato threw four interceptions and gave Ohio 24 points in the second quarter. The Bobcats won that game 44-7. Turnovers in critical times have really hurt Marshall, and if Ohio can force more than one, they can win the game.
Lastly, Ohio has to use the home field advantage, well, to their advantage. If the fans don’t show up, the Bobcats lose a potentially big key to success.
How Marshall can beat Ohio
Marshall has to play smart. Like I said before, turnovers literally kill the Herd in critical times. Those mistakes have to be avoided when they travel to Athens, or else it’ll be a long ride home for the players and fans. Against Purdue, Marshall had two fumbles lost and one interception. On the road, that’s a loss.
Get Devon Johnson more involved. Whether it be rushing, catching, or blocking, Marshall has to use ‘Rockhead’ more. He ran the ball 11 times for 89 yards last week and had two touchdowns. Give it to him 15 times and you could have 40 more yards of offense and another touchdown. Not only will he produce, he’ll wear down the defense too. Johnson is a huge, bruising running back. By the end of the game, Bobcat defenders won’t want anything to do with tackling him.
Lastly for the Herd, they have to play strong in between the tackles. They can make Ohio one-dimensional by taking away the run game and forcing the ball towards Tiquan Lang, A.J. Leggett, and the rest of the secondary.
My Prediction: Who Takes Home the Bell? Marshall 45, Ohio 27
Marshall has struggled in Athens in recent meetings. I think they will get out to a slow start in this one and maybe even fall behind for a while early. If one thing is for sure, Doc Holliday knows how to make adjustments at halftime, and I think that is where the Herd will gain momentum. Ohio will put up much more of a fight, and maybe give Herd fans a heart attack, but I still have little doubts about this one.
Side Note: This will be the last time the two teams meet until 2019.
Casey covers Marshall Thundering Herd sports for MFST. You can find him on twitter @wxmozz
https://www.myfantasysportstalk.com/2015-battle-bell-preview/https://i2.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/a30.jpg?fit=1024%2C682&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/a30.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1AnalysisConference USAFootballMACRecent PostsBattle of the Bell,herd football,Marshall football,marshall football 2015,Marshall university football,Ohio Football,ohio university football,ohio university football 2015The Marshall football season kicked off with a 41-31 victory over Purdue. On the other hand, Ohio kicked off their season with a 45-28 win over Idaho. The 2015 Battle for the Bell contest between Marshall and Ohio University will hopefully be a lot different from last years match-up....Casey MosrieCasey Mosriecaseymosrie@gmail.comContributorI attend Marshall University and follow college football and basketball.MyFantasySportsTalk