Marshall vs. West Virginia: News, Analysis and Observations

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Marshall vs. West Virginia: News, Analysis and Observations
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

One of the great local rivalries resumes today as West Virginia takes on intrastate opponent Marshall at 3:30 EDT.

The Thundering Herd have never beaten West Virginia, trailing the all-time series 10-0. 

Last season was the closest Marshall came to taking down the Big East powerhouse.  Leading by 15 points in the fourth quarter, the Herd allowed Geno Smith to march  the Mountaineers down the field twice and tie the game on a two-point conversion.  In overtime, the Mountaineers managed a field goal and pulled out the victory 27-24. 

This season, the Mountaineers come into the game ranked No. 24 in the AP poll and retuning Geno Smith as their quarterback.  With Noel Devine graduated, Tavon Austin remains as Smith's huge threat.

The game marks the debut of head coach Dana Holgorsen, who replaces Bill Stewart, who resigned after last season. 

Holgorsen ran the explosive Oklahoma State offense prior to joining West Virginia as the offensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting.  In 2010, Holgorsen's only season at OK State, his offense led the nation in total offense at 537.6 yards per game.

The Mountaineers hope he does similar things at WVU, whose offense sputtered under Bill Stewart last season. 

Having traditionally run the spread offense, Stewart attempted to bring a more pro-style attack to West Virginia, but the offense was inconsistent for WVU last season.

Marshall enters the game as 23.5 point underdogs according to Betus.net.  Starting wide receiver Troy Evans is suspended for the game after his arrest, and the team will start true freshman Rakeem Cato at quarterback.

Keep it here on Bleacher Report for continuous real-time updates before this game today and all season long. 

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