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MUHELMET

Marshall sports a military appreciation decal on its helmets for Saturday’s game against UMass at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington.

Chuck Landon Grades the Mountaineers … Texas 17, WVU 13

OFFENSE: D

One touchdown. That’s it, one TD. That’s not going to win any games in this offensive era. Neither is throwing 50 passes in a game, but none for touchdowns. That’s what quarterback Jarret Doege did. Yes, he completed 35 of the 50, but the object is getting into the end zone.

That premise became even more vital when it became obvious that WVU’s offensive line simply couldn’t block Texas’ massive defensive front. The Mountaineers were held to only 43 yards on 26 attempts for an average of just 1.7 yards. Star running back Leddie Brown did score WVU’s only TD, but he was limited to just 47 yards on 15 carries (3.1-yard average).

DEFENSE: C

It didn’t play poorly. It just didn’t play great. Thus, an average grade. The problem is WVU gave up too many big plays. Running back Bijan Robinson’s 54-yard run on the first play of the game is a prime example. That’s more yards than WVU rushed for in the entire game.

Besides that, the Mountaineers’ pass defense yielded catches of 35, 33 and 21 yards. The 33-yarder for a touchdown was the game-winner.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A

Place-kicker Casey Legg booted field goals of 34 and 25 yards. WVU’s dual punters – Tyler Sumpter and Kolton McGhee — combined to average 40.8 yards. WVU’s punt team held Texas’ return game to negative yardage. And WVU punt returner Alec Sinkfield had a 22-yard return. Good jobs, all around.

COACHING: D

Kick the field goals. That’s all there is to it. Kick the freakin’ field goals. The problem is when head coach Neal Brown went for it on fourth-and-one the first time, he painted himself into a corner. That meant he had to go for it again on the next fourth down. That was the difference in the game. Do the math. If WVU would have kicked the two chip-shot field goals, the Mountaineers would have won 19-17.

OVERALL: D

This should have been a win and Casey Legg should have been a hero.

Chuck Landon Grades the Herd … MU 51, UMass 10

OFFENSE: A

It did whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted. Seven different ball-carriers combined for 267 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries for an impressive 6.5 yards per attempt. Star running back Brenden Knox could have rushed for 300 yards and goodness only knows how many touchdowns, but instead MU spread the wealth. So, Knox settled for 118 yards on just 14 carries for a whopping 8.4 yards per attempt.

Meanwhile, it was as if quarterback Grant Wells was competing in a punt, pass and kick contest. He threw for 228 yards and three TDs. He rushed for 29 yards on six carries. And he contributed a 36-yard punt.

The only downside is UMass did manage to get two sacks and seven tackles for loss.

DEFENSE: B

As usual, MU held the opposing defense below 100 yards rushing. UMass managed only 41 yards on 29 carries for just 1.4 yards per carry. The Herd’s defense did fall victim to a couple of trick plays, however. And UMass did complete 17 of 26 passes for 149 yards and a TD.

The Minutemen’s 10 points were there first points of the season.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D

It struggled again. Kickoff man Cameron Shirkey booted two more kickoffs out of bounds. And MU got very little yardage from its kickoff return team, averaging only 11 yards per return.

COACHING: B

It was solid and balanced. MU had 41 rushes and 32 passes.

0VERALL: A-

A shutout would have been nice, but it’s hard to argue with another 50-point offensive outburst.