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The Appalachian

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Mountaineers look to tame Thundering Herd in Boone

Redshirt+senior+linebacker+Andrew+Parker+Jr.+runs+across+the+field+after+his+interception+against+Southern+Miss+Oct.28.+The+New+Orleans+native+is+up+to+72+total+tackles+on+the+season.++
Leah Matney
Redshirt senior linebacker Andrew Parker Jr. runs across the field after his interception against Southern Miss Oct.28. The New Orleans native is up to 72 total tackles on the season.

After a much-needed win against Southern Miss, the Mountaineers look to defend their home turf against a struggling 4-4 Marshall team.

“We’re excited to play at home again this weekend in front of our fans, in front of our students, against a very good Marshall football team,” said head coach Shawn Clark.

Last year’s meeting in Huntington, West Virginia was won by Marshall 28-21, which improved their all-time record against App State to 10-15.

The Thundering Herd started their season 4-0, but have dropped their last four games including a 34-6 blowout loss to Coastal Carolina Saturday.

Marshall is led by their star running back Rasheen Ali. The junior running back has run for 693 yards on 136 carries and 11 touchdowns this season, including a 174-yard and two touchdown on 27 carries performance against Virginia Tech Sept. 23.

 “It starts with their running back and their offensive line, with Ali and the big physical offensive line,” Clark said. “Coach Legg does a great job with them up front.”

Marshall will be trotting out their dual-threat quarterback Cam Fancher to start on Saturday. Fancher has been inconsistent this year, throwing for 1,804 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions, along with rushing for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Fancher was benched last week for backup quarterback Cole Pennington.

“Both are great quarterbacks,” Clark said. “They can beat you with their feet, they get the ball out of their hands quick, and they can extend plays and that’s what you worry about on defense.”

The Thundering Herd’s defense is led by defensive lineman Owen Porter, who leads the team with five sacks and two forced fumbles.

 “I know he is their leader on defense, I love the way he plays,” Clark said. “He plays with intensity and he plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

 The Mountaineers totaled 571 yards of offense against the Golden Eagles Saturday in a shootout with 391 yards in the air and 180 yards on the ground. Junior quarterback Joey Aguilar had his best game of the season, passing for 391 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. 

Redshirt freshman running back Kanye Roberts and junior wide receiver Christan Horn also had impact performances. Roberts rushed for 109 yards and one touchdown, while Horn caught eight passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

One storyline to watch is the status of leading junior running back Nate Noel. Noel played a limited number of snaps last Saturday and ran the ball three times for eight yards.

“Nate Noel practiced this past week, he went into the game I think he got three or four plays and didn’t feel right,” Clark said. “We want to make sure Nate’s at his very best.”

The Mountaineers and Thundering Herd kick off at 6 p.m. in Boone and can be watched on the NFL Network.

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About the Contributors
Clay Durban, Reporter
Clay Durban (he/him) is a junior digital journalism major from Asheville, NC. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
Leah Matney, Photojournalist
Leah Matney (she/her) is a junior with a digital marketing major and photography minor from Lincolnton, NC. This is her first year with The Appalachian.
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