Category: Marshall Thundering Herd

BOWLING GREEN, KY - NOVEMBER 27: Brandon Doughty #12 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers looks to pass against the Marshall Thundering Herd in the second half of the game at L.T. Smith Stadium on November 27, 2015 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Hilltoppers defeated the Herd 49-28. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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WKU to host S. Miss/LaTech winner in C-USA title game

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Not only is one-half of Conference USA’s championship game set, but so is the location.

East division members Western Kentucky and Marshall came into their game Friday afternoon at 7-0 and 6-1 in conference play, respectively, with the contest essentially serving as a play-in game to the league’s title game.  On the strength of Brandon Doughty‘s 370 yards passing and five touchdowns, the Hilltoppers played their way in and staked a claim to the division title with a dominating 49-28 win over the Herd.

The Hilltoppers became the first C-USA team to finish undefeated in league play since Houston in 2011. WKU is the seventh team to go unbeaten in league play in C-USA’s 20 football seasons.

WKU is in just its second season in Conference USA, and will be playing for its first conference title in Bowling Green as the win wrapped up home-field advantage for the Hilltoppers.

The opponent will be determined Saturday afternoon. West leaders Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech, both 6-1, will square off Saturday in Ruston, with the winner moving on to face WKU next Saturday. Tech lost to Marshall in its first-ever title game appearance last season, while USM is looking to get back to the game for the first time since 2011 and the third time overall.

34 assistants in running for Broyles Award honor

Tom Herman
Associated Press

If your school is in the market for a head coach, and they’re going to go the assistant coach route, there’s a fairly decent chance that the new sideline boss appears somewhere on this recently-released list.

Wednesday afternoon, the Rotary Club of Little Rock announced the 34 nominees for the 2015 Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding assistant coach.  Two former winners made the cut this year — Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart (2009) and North Carolina defensive coordinator Gene Chizik (2004, while at Auburn).

Of the 34 finalists, 19 come from Power Five conferences.  The AAC, ACC and SEC lead all leagues with five nominees each, while the Big Ten has four.  The MAC, Pac-12 and Sun Belt claimed three nominees apiece, with the Big 12’s two is tied with the Mountain West for fewest among all conferences.

There are 16 defensive coordinators on the list and 13 offensive coordinators, along with one special teams coordinator (Utah State’s Dave Ungerer).  Only four non-coordinators made the cut: Georgia Southern running backs coach Dell McGee, Mississippi State quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson, North Carolina State defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen, USC wide receivers coach Tee Martin.

Last year’s winner was Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman, now the head coach at Houston.  Five finalists for this year’s award will be announced Nov. 30, with the winner being revealed Dec. 8.

• Alabama – Kirby Smart, Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers
• Arkansas – Dan Enos, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
• Arkansas State – Joe Cauthen, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
• Baylor – Kendal Briles, Offensive Coordinator
• Boston College – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
• Bowling Green State – Sean Lewis, Co–Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
• Central Michigan – Greg Colby, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
• Clemson – Brent Venables, Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers
• Colorado State – Will Friend, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
• Florida – Geoff Collins, Defensive Coordinator
• Florida State – Charles Kelly, Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
• Georgia Southern – Dell McGee, Running Backs
• Georgia State – Jesse Minter, Defensive Coordinator
• Houston – Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator
• Indiana – Greg Frey, Co–Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
• Iowa – Greg Davis, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
• Louisiana Tech – Tony Petersen, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
• Marshall – Chuck Heater, Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
• Memphis – Brad Cornelsen, Co–Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
• Michigan – Tim Drevno, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
• Mississippi State – Brian Johnson, Quarterbacks
• Navy – Dale Pehrson, Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line
• NC State – Ryan Nielsen, Defensive Line
• North Carolina – Gene Chizik, Defensive Coordinator
• Ole Miss – Dan Werner, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
• Oklahoma – Lincoln Riley, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
• South Florida – Danny Hope, Co–Offensive Coordinator/Run Game
• Temple – Phil Snow, Defensive Coordinator
• Toledo – Jon Heacock, Defensive Coordinator
• UCLA – Noel Mazzone, Offensive Coordinator
• USC – Tee Martin, WR/Pass Game Coordinator
• Utah State – Dave Ungerer, Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs
• Washington State University – Alex Grinch, Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
• Wisconsin – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator

Ohio State opens a 2.5-point favorite over Michigan, other Rivalry Week odds

Associated Press

Ohio State lost to Michigan State but, contrary to popular opinion, the Buckeyes are not packing it in for the rest of the season and folding the program. At least, that’s what the folks in Vegas think.

The Buckeyes opened Week 13 a 2.5-point favorite over Michigan Sunday, according to Vegas Insider. After all, Ohio State is 48-4 under Urban Meyer and has posted a 12-2 record against the hated Wolverines since Jim Tressel‘s arrival in 2001. However, both Michigan wins came in Ann Arbor, as Saturday’s game will be.

Other Rivalry Week opening lines of note:

  • Iowa (-1) at Nebraska
  • Navy at Houston (-1.5)
  • Marshall at Western Kentucky (-10.5)
  • Baylor (pick ’em) at TCU
  • North Carolina (-6) at N.C. State
  • Florida State at Florida (-3)
  • Clemson (-15.5) at South Carolina
  • Georgia (-4.5) at Georgia Tech
  • Texas A&M at LSU (-4)
  • Alabama (-13) at Auburn
  • Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech (-6.5)
  • Ole Miss (-2) at Mississippi State
  • Oklahoma (-3.5) at Oklahoma State
  • Notre Dame (-2) at Stanford
  • UCLA at USC (-3.5)


Group of Five Update: Houston lost, but New Years Six still up for grabs for AAC contenders


Houston may have been upset on the road by UConn on Saturday, but the Cougars remain in a solid position to reach the goal of any Group of Five program. The only thing Houston realistically lost Saturday was an undefeated season. Houston will get a chance to redeem themselves and play for a conference championship if it can score a win against a rising Navy this week. Better yet, the winner of the Houston-Navy game will get to host the first American Athletic Conference championship game, and the AAC is still in the bets possible position to send its champion to the New Years Six bowl line-up regardless if it is Navy, Houston or Temple.

South Florida remains in the AAC mix going into the final week of the season. If USF beats UCF and Temple loses to UConn, the Bulls will play for the AAC title against either Houston or Navy. If you are a Toledo fan, then you are buying a ticket to ride Coach T’s bus in Tampa. USF winning the AAC swings the door wide open for a MAC champion to fill the vacancy in the New Years Six reserved for the highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion. The odds are probably stacked against the MAC champion, be it Toledo, Northern Illinois or Bowling Green, but USF could throw a wrench in the plans for the AAC.

With the final week of the regular season coming up for the majority of the Group of Five conferences, here is a rundown of the division scenarios at play in each. The final week of the season will see five division champions determined, with three being settled on the field between division contenders. Home field advantage is also up for grabs in a handful of contests.



  • Temple wins with a win vs. UConn OR USF loss to UCF.
  • USF wins with win vs. UCF AND Temple loss to UConn.


  • Winner of Houston vs. Navy wins division


  • Navy hosts Temple/USF with win vs. Houston (best conference record)
  • Houston hosts Temple/USF with win vs. Navy (best overall regular-season record vs. Temple; best conference record vs. USF)
  • AAC East winner cannot host conference championship game according to AAC procedures.



  • Bowling Green has clinched the MAC East division and will play in the MAC Championship Game


  • Northern Illinois wins with win vs. Ohio OR Toledo loss to Western Michigan
  • Toledo wins with win vs. Western Michigan AND Northern Illinois loss to Ohio



  • Western Kentucky vs. Marshall winner wins division


  • Louisiana Tech vs. Southern Miss winner wins division




  • Air Force clinched the division when New Mexico lost to Colorado State


  • San Diego State clinched the West Division


Homefield advantage in the Mountain West Conference will be determined at the conclusion of the regular season. The highest-ranked division champion will receive the homefield advantage for the championship game.


  • Arkansas State wins with win vs. New Mexico State or Texas State.
  • Appalachian State wins with wins vs. UL-Lafayette and South Alabama AND Arkansas State losses to New Mexico State and Texas State
  • Georgia Southern wins with wins vs. South Alabama and Georgia State AND Appalachian State losses to UL-Lafayette or South Alabama AND Arkansas State losses to New Mexico State and Texas State


If the College Football Playoff selection committee had to rank the top teams in the Group of Five, here is how I think the remaining contenders would be ranked (Memphis and Boise State, for example, are out of contendion).

  1. Navy: Clearly the team to beat as Keenan Reynolds makes Heisman case.
  2. Houston: Sure, they lost, but are still a top candidate for the big prize
  3. Temple: Owls scored big win against Memphis to put them one step closer to AAC championship game
  4. Toledo: Rockets need some help from Ohio, but if they sneak by Northern Illinois, they remain in the hunt
  5. N/A: The New Year Six spot will only go to one of the above four teams mentioned, so there is no longer a need to rank a fifth team in this spot. Sorry USF, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and Conference USA. It’s nothing personal.

Group of Five Update: All eyes on Houston vs. Navy

Keenan Reynolds, Jackson Mitchell

The regular season is starting to wind down, and the number of contenders from the Group of Five are starting to dwindle. As things stand today, the clear favorites right now are Houston and Navy. Memphis has been eliminated from contention for a spot in the New Years Six when just two weeks ago the Tigers were the frontrunner. Two straight losses to Navy and Houston can do that to a team. Now, all eyes appear to be locked in on the November 27 game between Houston and Navy in the AAC regular season finale. The winner will be playing in, and hosting, the first AAC Championship Game.

We will have plenty of time to discuss Houston vs. Navy, as that game does not happen for two more weeks. As long as both avoid upsets on the road (Navy at Tulsa, Houston at UConn) this week, the mega matchup in the AAC West will be a game worthy of plenty of hype. But let’s take a look at what else happened this week.

Memphis is now done. The Tigers fell two games behind both Navy and Houston and lost head-to-head tiebreakers against each. With Houston or Navy guaranteed to go no worse than 1-1 the rest of the way in conference play, the big bowl dream for the Tigers has been wiped away. Memphis can no longer win the division, so they obviously can not win the conference. Remember, only conference champions from the Group of Five are given consideration for a New Years Six spot by the selection committee, so Memphis is out. Temple also took their second loss of the year down at USF Saturday night. The Owls’ loss to the Bulls was just the first in conference play though, and Temple still has a leg up in the AAC East race with Memphis at home this week and UConn at home in the regular season finale. Temple can clinch the division and a spot in the conference title game by going 2-0 or winning one and having USF losing one, but the pressure is on for the Owls. Temple is still in contention for the AAC title and can still claim the New Years Six bid, because the AAC is still on top of the pack and on track for having the highest-ranked champion at the end.

The MAC continues to linger though. Toledo came away with a Tuesday night victory at Central Michigan to remain a one-loss team. At 8-1, with a win on the road against an Arkansas team that appears to be finishing strongly, the Rockets are still in a good position to sneak in at the end if it avoids another loss. Toledo may have to beat Bowling Green twice to make that happen, including this week at Bowling Green. The two could face each other in the MAC Championship Game as well. Bowling Green already has a spot locked up, but Toledo is in a three-way tie in their division with Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.

We can also now forget about Boise State’s outside shot at making a New Years Six bowl game. The Broncos were taken down at home by New Mexico Saturday night. That puts Air Force in first place in the Mountain Division, one game ahead of Boise State (Air Force visits Boise State Friday night, by the way). No team in the Mountain West Conference has fewer than three losses, so the conference is now done in the Group of Five conversation this year. We’ll see you next year though, MWC!

Here’s how the Group of Five contenders look as we enter the final weeks of the season. I dropped Memphis entirely from consideration as the Tigers can no longer win the AAC. That leaves the door open for a second MAC team.

  1. Houston: Cougars are only undefeated team in the bunch
  2. Navy: Midshipmen still enjoying conference life
  3. Toledo: Rockets still hanging around
  4. Temple: Owls ran into a buzzsaw at USF, still in position for division crown
  5. Bowling Green: Falcons cannot lose again and may still need some help, but with Memphis now eliminated from AAC title contention, Falcons earn the fifth spot for now.

On the Radar: Marshall is coming off a 52-0 victory to improve to 9-2. Beating Western Kentucky at the end of the regular season is a must.