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Gardner-Webb Next Up for Herd
The Runnin' Bulldogs, Big South Confererence and NCAA FCS member from Boiling Springs, N.C. is 1-0 after a 28-21 victory Saturday over former Herd foe and Southern Conference member Furman.
G-W was led on offense in the victory by Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Week running back Juanne Blount who carried 28 times for a career-best 162 yards, including 120 in the second half.
Defensive end Shaquille Riddick led a Bulldog defense with three quarterback pressures, one sack and six tackles that limited Furman to 213 total yards and 43 offensive snaps.
G-W is coached by first year head coach Carroll McCray who is 17-31 all-time as a head coach. Last year McCray held the top job for NCAA Division II North Greenville University.
Marshall, 1-0 after a 52-14 victory over Miami(Ohio) rolled up 591 yards of total offense on Saturday with quarterback Rakeem Cato connecting on 22-of-34 passes for 253 yards and 5 touchdowns. Perhaps even more impressive they rolled up 304 total rushing yards.
"They want to play a fast, fast tempo. They averaged over 90 snaps a game last year and had over 90 against [Miami]. If they move the chains on a play, they will get to the line and run that same play at you. Their quarterback has a strong arm and makes good decisions. He's proven his value for them.", McCray said.
Defensively the Herd pitched a second half shutout against the Redhawks and scored a touchdown on a 37 yard interception return by Raheem Waiters.
"They're not huge across the board, but man are they long and athletic. They're nose [tackle] is a 300 pounder, but their other guys have great speed and reach. A very athletic team and did a great job against a MAC team in Miami (Ohio). They got to play a lot of guys and I'm sure they're fresh heading into this week.", McCray said.
With coaching experience in the Southern Conference at Appalachian State McCray is well accustomed to playing in Huntington.
"It'll be a hostile environment. I've been to Marshall many times when I was in the Southern Conference and they don't take kindly to opponents coming in there to play their team. It is a great atmosphere for college football.", he said.
This will be the only game of the season against a team from the NCAA FBS for the Bulldogs who are 1-8 all-time against FBS teams. The lone win came on September 11, 2010 at Akron – a 38-37 overtime victory in the second week of the season. Their best showing in a loss came on October 11, 2008 at eventual Chick-Fil-A Bowl team Georgia Tech in a 10-7 loss . The Runnin’ Bulldogs held the Yellow Jackets to 79 yards rushing and 199 total yards and had a field goal blocked in the closing seconds of the loss.
Gardner-Webb is 12-2 all-time against teams from West Virginia, with all wins coming over Division II or NAIA programs from the state. GWU defeated both Concord and Shepherd during its run to the 1992 NAIA National Championship Bowl, with each playoff game played in Boiling Springs, N.C..