Handing out grades for Marshall and WVU from Saturday’s games:
Bowling Green 34, Marshall 31, OT
The worst thing that could have happened to MU was scoring two touchdowns in the first 2:32 of the game and taking a 14-0 lead. Can anybody spell L-E-T-D-O-W-N? That’s precisely what happened.
It was so easy, Marshall relaxed and played like the game was over. It wasn’t. But once a team falls into that mindset, it’s impossible to get that level of intensity back. Never mind that MU had 547 yards of total offense compared to BG’s 377, 191 yards rushing to BG’s 77, and 356 yards passing to BG’s 300.
This was a game of intensity and Bowling Green never relaxed.
The proud MU defense got gashed. It simply couldn’t get off the field because BG possessed the ball for 31:48 compared to MU’s 28:12. And the secondary that had been so stingy? It got dissected by Falcons quarterback Matt McDonald to the tune of 27-of-45 passing for 282 yards and four touchdowns.
Special teams: A
Punter John McConnell had a good day, averaging 42.3 yards on six punts. The fact that MU was forced into punting six times speaks volumes about this defeat. Also, placekicker Rece Verhoff did a nice job on kickoffs and booted a 38-yard field goal.
How does a coaching staff keep a team from suffering a letdown when everything is coming waaaaay too easily? I don’t know. But that’s part of a coach’s job and it didn’t get accomplished against Bowling Green.
MU was undefeated and BG was winless. There was no comparison in the talent level. This is a game the Herd never should have lost.
West Virginia 65, Towson 7
The Mountaineers rolled up a whopping 624 yards of total offense, scored an eyebrow-raising 65 points and played four quarterbacks, with three of the four throwing touchdown passes. It doesn’t matter who you are playing, that’s pretty darned strong.
Besides that, CJ Donaldson rushed for 101 yards on just nine carries — including an 82-yard TD burst — and scored three touchdowns. Fellow running back Tony Mathis had 104 yards rushing on 17 carries and scored two TDs.
It didn’t allow a touchdown and had seven tackles for loss, including three sacks. It held Towson to 98 yards passing and only 82 yards rushing.
Special teams: A–
The Mountaineers didn’t punt. That fact alone deserves an A. Besides that, Preston Fox turned in a 27-yard punt return. Oh yeah, and Casey Legg kicked a 26-yard field goal. The only blemish was giving up a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
The Mountaineers were clearly ready to play somebody, anybody. Better still, the coaching staff just about played everybody on the roster that was healthy.
WVU’s players needed to feel good about themselves. They will play better against Virginia Tech on Thursday night because of this game.