HUNTINGTON — Following Saturday’s loss at Middle Tennessee, Marshall football coach Doc Holliday said he would evaluate film before naming a starting quarterback against Old Dominion.
It didn’t take Holliday long to assess who will be on the field when Marshall takes on the Monarchs at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Holliday said during his weekly press conference Tuesday that sophomore starter Isaiah Green would remain at the helm despite the team’s struggles with producing points in the last two games.
“We feel like, right now, he gives us our best chance to win,” Holliday said.
Green had a feast-or-famine day Saturday against Middle Tennessee. The sophomore threw for 365 yards and rushed for another 95, giving him 460 yards of total offense. According to Marshall, that 460-yard performance ranks as the 11th-best single-game total in Thundering Herd history.
It was part of a 578-yard performance in which, statistically, Marshall (2-3 overall, 0-1 Conference USA) dominated everything from yardage to time of possession. However, there was one problem: The effort only produced one touchdown due to four turnovers that took points off the board.
Holliday said the key is to correct mistakes and stay the course.
“Just go play better — score in the red zone, don’t turn the ball over and keep doing what we’re doing,” Holliday said.
That starts with Green, who said despite the turnovers he is getting more comfortable within the offense.
“We’ve got to lock in and focus better and those small errors would turn into big plays for us,” Green said. “We’re not far off. We didn’t play as bad as people think. It wasn’t a terrible performance. It was a handful of plays that made the difference.”
It is typical that when errors come, they fall on the shoulders of the quarterback, but Holliday said the first interception was a result of a wrong route by a receiver and the third was on a fourth-down situation with Green trying to throw it up in a last-ditch effort.
“The last one he had, right there at the last play of the game, he was just trying to throw it up and make a play,” Holliday said. “You wouldn’t do that in a normal game situation. That being said, if you eliminate those two, you have two other ones that are two too many. You can’t have any. He’s got to work to get that fixed.”
With Old Dominion (1-4, 0-1) possessing a defense that ranks in the top 25 nationally against the run, chances are Green will have to perform at a high level for the Herd to get a win. The 365-yard passing performance is something to build on and his 95-yard rushing performance was a career-high, but those mean little without points at the end of it.
Old Dominion is also a slow-it-down type of a team that ranks 10th nationally in plays allowed per game at just over 60, meaning that each opportunity has more value because of the limited number the opposition gets to run.
The key is a defense that loads the box against the run and takes its chances at winning one-on-one battles on the outside.
“They’re going to take away the run now,” Holliday said. “Look at their run stats. They are going to get eight of them in the box and they’re going to force you to throw the football. They did everybody else. I’m sure we won’t be any different.”
Holliday said he is confident that Green will tackle the challenge this weekend against the Monarchs.
“He takes great pride in what he does,” Holliday said. “He’ll bounce back and I think he’ll play great this Saturday.”