For those of you jonesing for a little out-of-conference variety besides the same three ACC schools and East Carolina, the South Carolina schedule makers have provided that in the form of Marshall. Hailing from West Virginia, the Thundering Herd lays claim to two FCS national titles (1992 and 1996, respectively) and made an impressive jump to the big leagues, where it now plays in Conference-USA. A fun trivia fact: Besides our very own Williams-Brice, Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards Stadium is the only other Division I football stadium named exclusively after a woman. Neat!
Last meeting: The Gamecocks and the Herd have faced off just once before in 1998. Unfortunately, it was a 24-21 upset victory for Marshall in Columbia, and there’s YouTube evidence. The statute of limitations has probably expired on this being a revenge game, but it’d be nice to go ahead and even that series record.
Last season: Marshall put together a solid 8-5 (4-4 C-USA) campaign, finishing in a three-way tie for third in the conference’s East division. The Herd capped its season with a 31-28 New Mexico Bowl victory over Colorado State to complete an impressive turnaround from a tough 3-9 effort in 2016.
Player to watch out for: Receiver Tyre Brady, who was an All-Conference USA selection last year, had some monstrous games for the Herd: 11 catches for 148 yards against N.C. State, nine for 101 yards against Florida International, and six for 165 against Colorado State. (He also had a six-catch, 88-yard performance against Charlotte and a 10-catch, 82-yard effort against Western Kentucky.) The former Miami transfer has been named to the preseason Biletnikoff Award watch list, and also grabbed a spot on C-USA’s preseason all-league team.
Prognosis: With plenty of starters returning on defense and a few key piece backs on offense, the Herd looks like it’s positioned to improve on last year’s record and contend in Conference-USA. While Marshall does have to replace its quarterback, it nonetheless has the feel of a team that will be upset-minded when it comes to Williams-Brice.