Looking for a repeat effort … and maybe even more.
Both football programs at Marshall University and Ohio University enjoyed some stellar moments over the course of the 2017 campaign, as each squad produced winning seasons and bowl victories.
The goal will be the same for each team in the Green and White this fall — and there will be quite a bit of familiarity with each school’s opponents.
This year, both the Bobcats (9-4, 5-3 MAC East) and the Thundering Herd (8-5, 4-4 CUSA East) have a dozen games apiece on the slate — with each program playing an even amount of home and road games.
Ten of Marshall’s dozen contests are repeat matchups from a year ago, with the exception of games against Eastern Kentucky and at South Carolina. The Herd went 5-5 last fall against this season’s repeat opponents.
Ohio, on the other hand, will face six repeat opponents and have another half-dozen newcomers on the 2018 schedule. Trips to Virginia, Cincinnati, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan are all part of the new slate, as are home contests with Howard and Ball State.
As the Thundering Herd and the Bobcats aim for their first respective conference titles since the 2014 and 1968 seasons, here’s a brief look at what each program faces in the upcoming fall season. Both programs open the 2018 campaign on Sept. 1, which is roughly seven weeks away.
The Thundering Herd avenged a difficult 3-9 season in 2016 by going 7-5 during the regular season last fall, then went on to win their fifth straight bowl game under head coach Doc Holliday with a 31-28 decision over Colorado State in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
Marshall went 4-4 in CUSA East play last year, which earned the program a three-way tie for third place in the final standings.
The Herd will play eight consecutive games at the start of the 2018 campaign before reaching its bye week in the last week of October.
Marshall’s 2018 schedule consists of seven teams that produced winning records last fall, as well as seven bowl appearances from that group of one dozen. Marshall will also face the same eight league opponents that it did last year, which led to a 4-4 overall mark in those contests.
The Thundering Herd opens the 2018 season at Miami of Ohio, a team that MU defeated during last year’s season opener at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The RedHawks went 5-7 last fall.
From there, Marshall takes on both schedule newcomers over the following two weeks. Eastern Kentucky — which went 4-7 in 2017 — serves as the home opener on Sept. 8, then the Green and White travel to Columbia to face the South Carolina Gamecocks (9-4) in a Week 3 bout.
North Carolina State serves as the Edwards Stadium headliner this fall as the Wolfpack completes a home-and-home series with Marshall on Sept. 22. N.C. State won last year’s meeting en route to a 9-4 overall campaign.
The Herd opens Conference USA play during the last week of September as they travel to Western Kentucky (6-7), then make their CUSA home debut on Oct. 5 when Middle Tennessee (7-6) comes to Huntington.
A road trip to Old Dominion (5-7) and a home bout with defending CUSA champion Florida Atlantic (11-3) complete the eight-game stretch before the bye, with a trip to Southern Mississippi (8-5) waiting at the start of November.
Both Charlotte (1-11) and Texas-San Antonio (6-5) complete Marshall’s home schedule on Nov. 10 and Nov. 17, respectively.
The Herd completes the regular season at Florida International (8-5) on Nov. 24.
Marshall earned wins over Miami of Ohio, WKU, MTSU, ODU and Charlotte last fall, but fell to NCSU, FAU, SMU, UTSA and FIU.
The Bobcats took a step forward with a 9-4 mark after posting back-to-back eight-win seasons in 2015 and 2016. Ohio also recorded its ninth consecutive .500-or-better season under Frank Solich over his 13 seasons at the helm.
The Bobcats went 5-3 in MAC East play last year, which earned the program a second place finish in the final standings. OU also defeated UAB by a 41-6 margin in the Bahamas Bowl for the program’s first postseason win since 2012.
The Bobcats will play only one game before reaching their bye week in early September and have only two teams on the 2018 schedule that produced winning records last fall. Only three of the Bobcats’ dozen opponents were in bowl games last year.
The Green and White open the season at Peden Stadium against Howard, a team that went 7-4 a year ago.
Following the bye week, the Bobcats make a pair of road trips to Virginia (6-7) and Cincinnati (4-8) on Sept. 15 and Sept. 22.
Ohio concludes non-conference play on Sept. 29 when it welcomes Massachusetts (4-8) for a rematch of last year’s shootout — which OU won by a 58-50 margin.
The Bobcats open Mid-American Conference play with a pair of road games against Kent State (2-10) and Northern Illinois (8-5) on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13, followed by back-to-back home contests against Bowling Green (2-10) and Ball State (2-10) on Oct. 20 and Oct. 25.
Ohio had back-to-back road games to start the month of November with trips to Western Michigan (6-6) and Miami of Ohio (5-7) on Nov. 1 and Nov. 7.
The Bobcats end the regular season at Peden Stadium with consecutive bouts with Buffalo (6-6) and Akron (7-7) on Nov. 14 and Nov. 23.
Ohio earned wins over UMass, BGSU, KSU and Miami of Ohio last fall, but fell to Buffalo and Akron to complete a 4-2 mark against repeat opponents.
Marshall Thundering Herd
|9-1||at Miami of Ohio||3:30|
|9-8||vs Eastern Kentucky||
|9-15||at South Carolina||7:30|
|9-22||vs N.C. State||7 p.m.|
|9-29||at Western Kentucky||7:30|
|10-5||vs Middle Tennessee||7:30|
|10-13||at Old Dominion||3:30|
|10-20||vs Florida Atlantic||2:30|
|11-3||at Southern Mississippi||3 p.m.|
|11-17||vs Texas-San Antonio||2:30|
|11-24||at Florida International||noon|
|9-1||vs Howard||2 p.m.|
|9-15||at Virginia||3 p.m.|
|10-6||at Kent State||3:30|
|10-13||at Northern Illinois||3:30|
|10-20||vs Bowling Green||2 p.m.|
|10-25||vs Ball State||7 p.m.|
|11-1||at Western Michigan||7 p.m.|
|11-7||at Miami of Ohio||TBA|
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.