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Time for these two to play

October 1, 2018

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — It’s time to circle Marshall’s offensive wagons.

And then what?

The next obvious move is sending out a scouting party to find a couple of players who are notably missing.

Missing in action?

Nope.

Missing from action.

So, just exactly where are quarterback Alex Thomson and running back Anthony Anderson?

Actually, I know precisely where Thomson and Anderson were during Marshall’s so very ugly offensive performance in a 20-17 victory over Western Kentucky here Saturday night in Houchens-L.T. Smith Stadium.

They both were standing on the sideline watching.

That’s the problem.

Why weren’t they both playing? Goodness knows they should have been playing based on Marshall’s last four halves of offensive football. The Thundering Herd’s offense has scored only three touchdowns in the last two games.

Yet, Thomson, a 6-foot-5, 233-pound graduate transfer quarterback who was expected to be the Herd’s starting signal-caller, hasn’t taken a single snap. And Anderson? Until the 6-2, 240-pound senior running back made a cameo appearance in the fourth quarter Saturday, he had touched the ball only once since scoring two touchdowns on three carries in Marshall’s season-opening 35-28 win at Miami (Ohio).

Why? Why? Why?

That’s a valid query. Particularly when the recent bodies of work are considered.

After a lights-out performance against Miami, redshirt freshman quarterback Isaiah Green has struggled. In a 37-20 loss to N.C. State a week ago, Green tossed two interceptions, including one that was returned 57 yards for a touchdown, and lost a fumble.

Then, during a first half that was difficult to watch here Saturday, Green completed only 5 of 15 passes for 110 yards with another interception. Then, in the fourth quarter, he threw two more interceptions that led to a 17-13 Western Kentucky lead.

Am I advocating benching Green and elevating Thomson to starter? No. But why not let Green catch his breath and gather his wits while Thomson takes a turn?

At this point, too much pressure is being placed on Green to carry the offense because of the utter and complete lack of a running attack

. And that is where Anderson comes in.

Marshall entered the game ranked No. 119 in the NCAA in rushing and got even worse during the first half, managing only 32 yards on 13 carries for an average of only 2.5 yards. So, it seems like the perfect time to put a bruising 240-pound running back into the lineup and give him a chance to create his own holes.

As it is now, Marshall’s struggling offense managed only 44 yards on 10 plays in the first quarter. And 40 of the 44 yards came on a touchdown pass to Tyre Brady. It also was Marshall’s only first down of the quarter.

As a result, Western Kentucky’s offense was on the field far too much in this game. And let’s be honest, the Hilltoppers’ offense isn’t exactly a juggernaut. But the more plays WKU was able to run, the more confident the offense became.

The crux of the matter is, Marshall’s offense desperately needs a spark.

It is time to give Thomson and Anderson a chance.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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