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Thundering Herd needs to learn from loss, then forget it

November 11, 2018

It is called “selective amnesia.”

Perhaps it sounds like a disease, but in the world of athletics it actually is a remedy.

Take Marshall University’s hard-to-swallow, drama-filled 26-24 defeat at Southern Miss, for example. That surprising loss easily could bleed over into this week and create a hangover effort for Marshall’s game against Charlotte at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

That’s where the selective amnesia comes into play. Marshall can’t allow the loss to Southern Miss to become a catalyst for yet another defeat to Charlotte.

So, Marshall’s players have to forget the Southern Miss loss. They have to wipe it from their memories like deleting files from their laptops.

Right, Nazeeh Johnson?

“Uh-huh,” said Marshall’s 5-foot-11, 183-pound redshirt sophomore free safety. “We’ve got to just let this game (Southern Miss) go past us. We made a lot of mistakes on the offensive side of the ball. We can’t turn the ball over as much as we did (four times).

“As a defense, we had too many penalties when the ball was in the air (two pass interference calls). It was my guys not getting their heads around. We just have to execute the little things so we can come back this week.”

The last thing Marshall needs right about now is a second consecutive home loss to Charlotte. The 49ers defeated the Herd, 27-24, in 2016 at the Joan.

Considering Charlotte’s head coach is Brad Lambert, former secondary coach at Marshall, there’s nothing he would relish more. Besides, Marshall and Charlotte actually are tied in the Conference USA East Division standings with 3-2 records.

That’s not all.

Think Marshall’s rush defense is good? Charlotte’s is better. It is ranked No. 3 in the country, while the Herd’s rush defense is No. 13. Also, Charlotte is ranked No. 12 in total defense.

So, this matchup is liable to be another defensive-oriented game, much like the Southern Miss game was.

That means it will come down to turnovers.

“This game coming up is the most important game of the year,” said Johnson. “That loss last week was a loss, but we’ve just got to let that go and get to the next game. We don’t want that loss to Southern Miss create two losses. We can’t let that loss establish the rest of our season.”

Johnson made several valid points.

Yet, senior left guard Jordan Dowrey is a voice of experience and sees both sides of the “selective amnesia” concept.

“I think the big focus for this week,” said the Winchester, Virginia, native, “is take what we can from last week and learn what we can. Learn from mistakes, learn from the things we did well and take them into the next week.”

So, don’t completely wipe the Southern Miss game from their memories.

“There’s always good and bad,” explained Dowrey. “There’s good and bad in wins and there’s good and bad in losses. I think if you learn from the good and the bad, that’s the best way to improve.

“So, as much as we’re not happy with the outcome (last week), it’s definitely a learning experience. If you ignore the things that you didn’t do well, then you’re not going to get better week-to-week.

“We need to take advantage of what we learned from and make sure we don’t allow it to happen again.”

Will that happen? Maybe. Maybe not.

MU will win a close game, 20-17.

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

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