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wellsmonday

Marshall quarterback Grant Wells looks to pass Saturday against North Carolina Central.

HUNTINGTON — All week, Marshall football head coach Charles Huff implored fans to do their part by coming out to Saturday’s first home game of 2021.

After the game, Huff thanked the fans, then followed it with apologies for what he said was a sub-par performance in a 44-10 win over North Carolina Central at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

“One of the sloppiest first halves of football I’ve ever been a part of, and that’s on me, so I want to apologize to the fans and the students,” Huff said. “I challenged you guys. You guys did your part — you showed up. I did not do my part. We will be better.”

Marshall’s first possession featured two bobbled snaps, which eventually led to a punt.

Two drives later, Marshall had a penalty that pushed the Thundering Herd back out of the red zone, which preceded an interception from Grant Wells in which he forced the ball into double-coverage at the goal line.

Huff was protective of his quarterback, though, saying the overall mentality of the offense led to the slow start, which becomes magnified on Wells because he has the ball in his hands each play.

“If we start like that offensively, Joe Montana can’t fix it,” Huff said.

Huff said the performance was not a surprise, considering how his team prepared throughout the week.

“Our discipline is way off, but it goes back to our preparation,” Huff said. “We practiced exactly how we played this week. We practiced like we were playing an opponent that was ‘below us’ level-wise, as far as what division they were in. That’s how we practiced. Hopefully, we’ll learn from it.”

Wells said that he, too, could sense the urgency was not where it needed to be in practice.

“Anytime you see something like that on game day, it’s not just on game day,” Wells said. “That has to start on Monday practice and even before that on Sunday lift. That’s something we’ll definitely fix this week. It won’t happen again.”

For Huff and the Herd, this week brings in an opponent, East Carolina, that took South Carolina to the wire on Saturday before falling 20-17 on a last-second field goal.

Huff said Saturday’s performance served as a lesson for all involved and a wake-up call for the week to come.

“I’ve got to do a better job,” Huff said. “I saw it all week, talked about it all week, but obviously didn’t get it changed. We’ll be better. I think the guys learned from it. I think in the locker room, they kind of opened their eyes to it.”

Grant Traylor is the sports editor of The Herald-Dispatch, who also covers Marshall athletics for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter @GrantTraylor.