Marshall FB

Marshall University defensive back Steven Gilmore (34) celebrates a turnover against Florida Atlantic University in a Conference USA game Friday.

Chuck Landon Grades the Herd … MU 36, Florida Atlantic 31

OFFENSE: A+ – Running back Brenden Knox was more than enough by himself to earn the offense this “A+” grade. After all, the bullish-running sophomore rumbled for 220 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner, on 23 carries. Do the math and Knox averaged an amazing 9.6 yards per carry. Not bad for a guy who specializes in breaking tackles.

DEFENSE: C – It was a good news, bad news situation. The good news is MU held the Owls to a meager 57 yards rushing on 36 attempts for only 1.6 yards per carry. More good news is the Herd had seven sacks. Now, the bad news. MU got scorched for 362 yards in the air, which is why the Herd had to rally to win the game with only 36 seconds remaining.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C – Place-kicker Justin Rohrwasser and punter Robert LeFevre did their jobs. But averaging only 11.0 yards on kickoff returns with a long of just 17 yards simply isn’t good enough.

COACHING: B- – Letting Knox pound the rock was a good idea. It’s sort of a “let the big dog eat philosophy” and it worked exceptionally well. But anointing redshirt sophomore running back Sheldon Evans as the kickoff returner was a very poor move. Also, there were too many unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. That needs to be cleaned up. It shows a lack of discipline.

OVERALL: A – Marshall was in a must-win situation on the road and found a way to post its most significant victory of the season.

Chuck Landon Grades the Mountaineers … Oklahoma 52, WVU 14

OFFENSE: F – Quarterback Austin Kendall and slot receiver T.J. Simmons can’t do it by themselves. The rest of the offense has to show up, too. Especially the mediocre running game. In yet another sub-par performance, WVU rushed for 51 yards on 30 attempts for a 1.7-yard per carry average. It’s tough to win with the No. 124 rushing offense in the country.

DEFENSE: F – Throwing against WVU was just slightly easier for quarterback Justin Hurts than shooting fish in a barrel. Hurts completed 16 of 17 passes – his one incompletion was a dropped pass – for 316 yards and three TDs. His off the charts passer efficiency rating was 308.5 was the best in NCAA play this season. Good for him, embarrassing for WVU.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C – Josh Growden’s fake-punt pass for a first down was really good. It set up one of WVU’s two touchdowns. Alas, Growden experienced both ends of the emotional spectrum when his punt was blocked into the end zone and recovered for a touchdown.

COACHING: D – The fake-punt play was an ingenious, perfectly timed move. Kudos to WVU head coach Neal Brown. But a coach and his staff can do only so much. Most notably, they can’t make up for a talent differential the size of the Grand Canyon.

OVERALL: F – WVU simply was over-matched, over-whelmed and over-scheduled.