Flagged late, but 203 first-half yards almost exceeded 2009 game total and blew the 2008 mark away. And get this: There were actually big plays. The one fumble hurt, and there were just two first downs afterward.
Flagged late, obviously, after forcing two turnovers and having a fourth-down stand. But damn, Vinny Curry and Mario Harvey were beasts, weren’t they? Look for Curry to be Conference USA player of the week in a losing effort.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-
Johnny Jones had his second blocked FG in two weeks, and has six in his career, and it gave the Herd a short field for another score. Kase Whitehead had a very good day in punting, and WVU didn’t hurt the Herd on returns.
But… returns were not good (is it me, or is Andre Booker running tentatively?). Kickoffs were better after the ill-advised pooch kick (aren’t they all ill-advised?). But the overriding factor: the game ended on a missed field goal. You can’t phrase that any other way.
This grade may be too low. BA didn’t do much wrong, really. Three TDs, no picks, no sacks and a 96-yard TD. But … take the one long pass and you have 19-of-28 for 133 yards … solid but unspectacular.
Give the staff major props for preparation, and for fostering major improvement from the Ohio State game. The emotion was there, certainly.
I will forever shake my head at Tron Martinez getting his first carries as the Herd was trying to put WVU away, and then fumbling. On a lesser note, I’m not sure why George Carpenter was there to whiff on Noel Devine on third-and-goal at the 4.
I saw a lot of encouraging things, as far as Marshall’s ability to contend against the rest of the schedule. But I also saw the Thundering Herd’s star-crossed fan base taken another kick in the … ribs. Doc Holliday is right about one thing: That’s unacceptable.