It all comes down to defense for Marshall. The Thundering Herd put up points with the best of them in 2012, but the defense gave up points with the worst of them.
Marshall ranked first in passing offense, sixth in total offense and seventh in scoring offense. The Herd was 104th in rushing defense, 101st in total defense and 119th in scoring defense. Hence the team's 5-7 record.
Nearly all of the key players are back on offense, so the worries are few there. And one has to believe the defense can't get worse. Conference USA observers have Marshall making a run at the title, but let's see what happens with the defense.
Click the poster for an enlarged view. Thanks to Ty.