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NCAA Football: Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia

West Virginia University wide receiver Graeson Malashevich (89) turned some heads during Saturday's win over Eastern Kentucky.

Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

Here are the socially-distanced opinions of the day.

n Most sports fans in southern West Virginia know how to pronounce Malashevich.

It is Mal-uh-CHEV-itch.

We know that because Billy Malashevich was a star place-kicker for Marshall University in 1997-98-99, making 29 of 40 field goals for 72.5 percent accuracy and scoring 199 points.

Malashevich is best known, however, for kicking a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give MU a 24-21 road victory over South Carolina in 1998. Then, the very next week, Malashevich booted another game-winning field in a 26-23 win at Eastern Michigan.

So, why am I bringing all of this up now?

It’s because the name popped up again in WVU’s 56-10 win over Eastern Kentucky Saturday in Morgantown. Remember the Malashevichs’ son, Graeson, who was one of the very best prep players in the state as a senior at Spring Valley High School? Well, now, he is a redshirt freshman slot receiver for the Mountaineers.

And, yes, he got to play during the rout.

That’s when the fun started.

As it turned out, the public address system in the press box wasn’t functioning, so a nice, young lady from the sports information department did the play-by-play duties in a strong voice while standing in the second row.

She did beautifully right up until backup quarterback Austin Kendall fired a 30-yard pass to Malashevich for his first collegiate reception with about five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Try as she might to pronounce “Malashevich,” she slaughtered his name. And she knew it. So, she tried again. And failed again.

So, being an affable sort, I turned around from my front row seat and enunciated aloud, “Mal-uh-CHEV-itch. You know, like the fine wine.”

I was referring to Manischewitz Wine, of course.

And it seemed to help. She stumbled once more over his name, as Malashevich was targeted on two more passes and also returned a punt for five yards, but for the most part she picked up on the pronunciation.

I probably owe the young lady a bottle of wine.

n Do we really need to hear piped in crowd noise at football games?

I don’t believe so.

The NFL is doing it and so was WVU during the victory over Eastern Kentucky. It seemed a bit surreal to look down into the West stands at Mountaineer Field and see about 200 fans sitting in the middle three sections, yet hear crowd noise.

Trust me, it didn’t add any normalcy to the unique circumstances of playing football amidst COVID-19.

It isn’t necessary. It isn’t fooling anybody. And I find it highly unlikely that the piped in crowd noise is creating an adrenaline rush for the players.

Enough said.

n Has Marshall University ever defeated a ranked opponent in Joan C. Edwards Stadium?


That’s worth noting since No. 23 Appalachian State will take on the Herd at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in “The Joan.”

There was a win over a Top 25 team in the city of Huntington, however. It happened in 1976 when Marshall defeated No. 20 Miami (Ohio), 21-16, in now-razed Fairfield Stadium.

The Herd is 3-21 all-time vs. ranked opponents.

n The havoc of high school football scheduling is mind-boggling.

But does it have to be?

Maybe not.

Consider this:

Cabell Midland was supposed to play Hurricane this week, but Putnam County went orange on the color-schemed chart so the game was called off. Meanwhile, Spring Valley was supposed to play St. Albans this week, but it was cancelled because Kanawha County also is orange.

So, why isn’t Cabell Midland playing Spring Valley this week? It seems like a simple solution, considering the pair were supposed to meet in the first week of the season until it got pushed back a week.

But, instead, Spring Valley is traveling all the way to Martinsburg and Cabell Midland is searching for an opponent.

Folks, it just doesn’t need to be this hard.