HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -Marshall University will go prime time today in Murfreesboro, Tenn., when it meets Middle Tennessee State on national television.
The 7:30 p.m. kickoff is scheduled for the Fox Sports 1 network.
"I like Thursday night games because of the exposure our program gets," Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. "Anytime we can get the 'M' on television on a national stage it helps recruiting and helps in all areas."
Nearly two weeks have passed since the last time the Thundering Herd played a game. Justin Haig's 41-yard field goal as time expired gave Marshall a 24-23 win at Florida Atlantic and enabled the green and white to improve to 2-0 in Conference USA for the first time under coach Holliday.
Overall, Marshall sits at 4-2 while Middle Tennessee State (3-4, 1-2 C-USA) is seeking to snap a three-game losing streak.
"Anytime you win going into an open week, you feel better and have a little more bounce in your step," Holliday said. "Your food tastes better, you feel better about yourself, and you enjoy getting up and going to work.
"There's no doubt winning helps your confidence. I told the players at practice that we have to play (tonight's game) like we played the last three possessions of the game against Florida Atlantic."
The Blue Raiders are new to conference and coached by Rick Stockstill, who owns the distinction of being a two-time Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year. His ballclub is coming off an 8-4 finish, which ranked as the nation's biggest win improvement after going 2-10 the previous year.
Of the nine returning starters on offense, quarterback Logan Kilgore is aiming at a third straight 2,000-yard passing season. Last season, he threw for 2,571 yards and 16 touchdowns. This year's numbers through seven games feature 1,086 yards through the air with six touchdowns.
Middle Tennessee State also has utilized Austin Grammer under the center. Grammer has appeared in all seven games and thrown for 152 yards and one touchdown. The freshman is a threat to run as his 151 yards on 29 carries indicate.
"With Middle Tennessee, it starts with their quarterback Logan Kilgore," Holliday said. "He has set just about every record there is at MTSU. I think he will be their quarterback because he has done so much for them.
"I'm sure they'll probably try to play both him and Austin Grammer. I don't believe that their offense is going to change a whole lot."
Last year, Blue Raiders running back Jordan Parker set a freshman record with 851 yards rushing. This season, he has accumulated 526 yards on the ground.
Defensively, safety Kevin Byard, who ranks among the team leaders in tackles, is tied with T.T. Barber for the team lead with two interceptions. Last year as a freshman, Byard picked off four passes.
"Defensively, MTSU is very physical and leads the country in creating turnovers so that will be a point of emphasis in our game," Holliday said. "It's similar to what we had against (Texas-San Antonio) - they were very physical. Not only are they physical up front, but their linebackers are extremely physical."
Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato continues to spearhead the offense. The junior has complete 59 percent (127-of-214) of his passes for 1,572 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"Rakeem Cato is not afraid to make any throw, and will throw deep a bunch" MTSU coach Stockstill said. "They'll change our secondary. He's athletic enough to buy some time and extend plays.
"He's a better runner than he gets credit for."
Marshall leads the head-to-head series against MTSU 2-0, with both wins (1992 and 1994) occurring in Huntington.
"I think the benefit is that we have had a little extra time to prepare for them," Holliday said. "Any time you go on the road, it's always a great challenge to go to someone else's arena.