Inside Marshall Sports

Grades for Rice game

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OFFENSE: A

What, you wanted more then 334 rushing yards, 593 total, with no turnovers? (Props to offensive linemen for 2 fumble recoveries)

DEFENSE: D

Lifted out of the dead because it forced Rice to settle for 3 field goals. As I’ve said before, field goals are victories against some teams, and this was the case. The hit “O” made on Vance McDonald to rob a passing TD in the 2nd overtime is the defensive play of the day.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C

Rescued by Tyler Williams’ punting (gross 50.8, net 50.6, 3 inside the 20). Booker takes a knee at the 6 on funky onside/not onside formation, a penalty on a return, the botched fake PAT … ugh.

QUARTERBACKING: A

Cato didn’t miss much on the run-pass option, I thought. 28-of-39, 259 yards, nothing close to a pick, survived three sacks. Solid outing.

COACHING: A

Yes, you read that right, an “A”. Are you vomiting on your keyboard yet?

Choose your goofy decision: The “pooch” kickoff, the fake PAT (I’m almost on board), the onside kick thing … a tough day for Herd tacticians, to be sure. Probably not a great day for Coach Rip on the D side, either.

But you know why I’m giving this grade? Consider the work of Joe Miday, strength and conditioning coach.

Being September in Houston, it was 90 degrees and somewhat humid. Summer has broken, for the most part, back home. You get where I’m going with this?

The O-line seemed fresh in the overtime, even. The defense mustered enough energy to come up with one big play in the 2nd OT. Runners were strong throughout.

Ladies and gents, I’ve covered a few Marshall teams who would have gotten gassed out of their minds in this game. Sort of like Rice’s defense. Those poor souls were beat into the ground, and couldn’t have begun to stop MU’s ground game in the overtime.

I think this win goes to the strength and conditioning program. Coach Miday gets an “A” on this game, wiping out all other negatives.

OVERALL: B

Much to work on. Defense is still frightening, and that may not change. But the Herd won a conference road game and finally won the state of Texas. Gotta take it.