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Lefty Stockstill creates some problems for Thundering Herd

October 6, 2018

Brent Stockstill will be the best lefthanded quarterback Marshall will face all season.

There, I said it.

OK, OK. You got me. Middle Tennessee’s star is also the only lefty-throwing quarterback the Herd is expected to face in 2018.

But the 6-foot, 215-pound redshirt senior quarterback still deserves that distinction. Why? Because he is just that good.

Despite missing at least 13 games in two seasons because of collarbone injuries, Stockstill is only 67 yards from reaching the plateau of 10,000 yards passing.

To put that in perspective for Marshall fans, only three Herd quarterbacks reached the 10,000-yard mark. The trio includes Byron Leftwich (11,903 yards), Chad Pennington (13,143) and Rakeem Cato (14,079).

Need I say more?

That’s how talented Stockstill is. Why, he has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 27 straight games. That ranks as the nation’s second longest streak behind Penn State’s Trace McSorley with 33.

Besides all that, he’s a tough guy. Guess who the Blue Raiders’ leading rusher was in their 25-24 win over Conference USA defending champion Florida Atlantic last week?

Stockstill.

He gained 56 yards in 14 carries.

“He is just such a competitive kid,” said Marshall coach Doc Holliday. “He’s a handful. He made two unbelievable plays at the end of the FAU game.”

Just don’t try to compare Stockstill to N.C State’s Ryan Finley — the best right-handed quarterback MU will face in 2018.

“Stockstill is different than the kid at N.C. State,” Holliday said. “He will take off with it. And he never slides. He’s a challenge because he can beat you with his feet.”

That fact of football life isn’t lost on Marshall star safety Malik Gant.

“That’s the crazy thing,” said Gant. “We know he’s versatile. He’s going to carry the team on his back. That’s what the coaches are stressing to us.”

Gant was being redshirted the last time Stockstill played against Marshall in 2015. But he watched the game on television and recently watched it again on videotape.

“I know he’s a great quarterback,” said Gant. “He’s very poised in the pocket and he’s a tough guy. He’s not really going to do a lot of sliding like normal quarterbacks do.”

And don’t forget his bloodlines. Stockstill’s father, Rick, is Middle Tennessee’s veteran head coach.

Like father, like son?

“He plays like a coach on the field,” said Gant. “Just with that extra grittiness and toughness and versatility and being smart on the field.”

Then there’s the fact he is a lefthander.

“It just affects the way you would treat the post safety or how we will look at certain throws — being harder for a left-hander or the other way around,” explained Gant. “Throwing to the field could be easier for him because he’s lefthanded and he’s going to the left side.

“That’s one thing you have to think about going into a game with a lefthanded quarterback. He’s going to roll that way because it’s more natural to him rather than going to the right. So, we just have to be more prepared in the field.

“Usually, quarterbacks like to go to the boundary more because that’s their dominant side and dominant hand (right). But this quarterback is left-handed, so either side is probably better for him. But his best side is the field side.”

So, can Marshall beat Stockstill for the first time when they play at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Joan C. Edwards Stadium?

MU will win, 27-24.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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