A first time ever opponent for the Fighting Irish, Marshall was 7-6 a year ago. Among their wins was a 49-7 romp over common opponent Navy. Last week they had their way against FCS Norfolk St. 55-3, piling up over 600 yards of offense.
The Thundering Herd is led by second year coach Charles Huff. Huff comes from the Nick Saban coaching tree having served as the Alabama associate head coach and running backs coach in 2019 and 2020.
At quarterback for the Herd will be Henry Columbi a transfer from Texas Tech. Last week Columbi was 24-26 for 205 yards and 1 TD he also threw an interception.
Last week Marshall had two hundred-yard rushers in Ethan Payne and Khalan Laborn who spearheaded a 380-yard rushing attack. Labron is a former five star recruit who transferred into Marshall to play a sixth year.
Preseason All-American Rasheen Ali, who rushed for 1,401 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2021, has been on an indefinite leave from the team the last few weeks and his status is unknown. Whoever is running the ball will be doing so behind an offensive line which is replacing three five year starters.
The Herd has some solid receivers returning from the nationally 18th ranked passing attack last season. They include 6-4 Corey Gammage and 6-1 Talik Keaton. Keaton led Marshall last week with 8 catches for 71 yards.
Defensive coordinator Lance Guidry likes to bring pressure. To accomplish that in the off season the Herd brought in three power five transfers to bolster their defensive interior and they return some talented edge rushers. Linebackers Eli Neal and Abraham Beauplan combined for over 200 tackles a year ago and provide stability at the second level. On the back end however the Herd are rebuilding, and turned to the transfer portal to do so. They do boast an outstanding returning corner in Steven Gilmore.
Marshall is a team with an history. Known for the 1971 tragedy when the entire team was lost in plane crash and the subsequent successful Hollywood movie We are Marshall, Marshall has been to bowl games in 10 of the last 12 years and 17 in the last 24 seasons. Randy Moss of course famously played there in the mid-nineties after he had been denied admission to Notre Dame after originally committing to ND.
Marshall has to be considered to be a dangerous team, but mostly because of their culture of winning. If preseason All-American Rasheen Ali was in the line-up then Marshall would have a difference maker capable of putting the Irish on upset alert. Ali is not expected to play however and Marshall is taking a big step up in competition against the Irish. If the Irish can guard against too big of a let down after Ohio State, they should do just fine.
The Irish are a 20.5 point favorite and the over/under is 59.
The Fighting Irish Preview Pick: ND 41 Marshall 14