HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- With another mobile quarterback lining up across from the Marshall University football team this week, at least Coach Doc Holliday can say the Thundering Herd's had plenty of practice against that type of player.
Eric Soza, the senior signal-caller for the University of Texas at San Antonio, is third in Conference USA in total offense behind leader Rakeem Cato of the Herd and East Carolina's Shane Carden. Soza averages 292 yards of total offense through five games. Of those yards, 23.6 per game come on the ground.
"It looks like every week we see some type of quarterback that can run very well," Holliday said. "When we played Miami (Ohio) in the first game their quarterback was able to move with the ball very well."
It wasn't just RedHawks quarterback Austin Boucher. Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton knew how to make plays with his feet, and Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas ran for 58 yards and two touchdowns against the Herd. Holliday doesn't think that trend will end after Marshall faces UTSA at 2 p.m. Saturday.
"You look around our league and most teams have that kind of dual-threat quarterback," he said. "They create big problems for you. It creates problems not only throwing it, but (Soza) is a speed option guy. He'll run the football as well as throw it."
Soza's arm has done most of the damage for the Roadrunners so far. He's completed 122 of 185 passes for 1,342 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions. He credits those around him, especially the offensive line, for that success.
"I'm able to sit back there and feel comfortable," Soza said. "The passing game all starts up front. That, and receivers are just making plays. They're finding the open windows, settling down and I have the easy job. I just sit back there with a three-step drop and throw the ball."
Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said he hadn't seen a team this season that has been able to both run and pass as effectively as UTSA has. The Roadrunners are No. 2 in total offense in the conference behind Marshall. A lot of that has to do, Heater said, with Soza's experience.
"He's a savvy guy who makes a lot of plays and keeps a few plays alive as well," Heater said. "We know what those guys can do to you, so that's a concern for sure."
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THE ROADRUNNERS haven't done too well forcing turnovers this season. They've forced and recovered just one fumble in its first five games, and has not yet picked off a pass. The Herd, on the other hand, has struggled holding on to the football in the past two games. Seven of its nine turnovers this season came in losses to Ohio and Virginia Tech.