MU fans second guessing now, too
Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
Not even a time change can delay these opinions because we are operating on CST — Chuck Central Time.
• What a mess.
That is about the nicest way to sum up Marshall University’s horrendous 26-24 loss to Southern Miss Saturday in M.M. Roberts Stadium at Hattiesburg, Miss.
Locals call this stadium “The Rock” and that’s what it was for Marshall – a football version of Alcatraz. The worst part is most of Marshall’s wounds were self-inflicted.
That’s why the Thundering Herd’s fan base is in an uproar.
I mean, who pulls the starting quarterback for throwing an interception and, then, replaces him with only 44 seconds remaining in the half with another quarterback who had been injured and hadn’t played in four weeks?
Well, almost no one.
But whoever came up with that 10-watt idea on Marshall’s sideline certainly dialed up the worst-case scenario.
That’s because the new quarterback didn’t come in, kneel down and run the remaining seconds off the clock. Anytime Marshall has had the ball at the end of the half and is going to receive the second half kickoff, this has been the routine.
Except this time.
Instead, the new quarterback – Isaiah Green – tried to pass, got sacked, fumbled and the ball was returned 17 yards for a Southern Miss touchdown.
So, the Golden Eagles went into halftime in the lead, 17-10. Marshall? It went into the locker room in an uproar. Think there weren’t words said longly and loudly in MU’s locker room? There were.
One MU player said, “We were down and we had some things in the locker room. We can’t have those things. We’ve just got to come together.”
That goes for the coaching staff as well as the players.
What’s worse, Marshall was coming off a bye week. The Herd should have had great preparation, but instead looked unprepared. And as though that weren’t bad enough, the Southern Miss game qualified as a “must win” for Marshall. If the Herd wanted to contend for Conference USA’s East Division championship it had to win the game.
That’s how much Marshall gave away in the loss.
As a result, Marshall’s fans are second-guessing the football program even more than I am. And that’s saying something. But who can blame them?
One week, Marshall’s fans are celebrating an outstanding, one-sided victory over Florida Atlantic. Then, 14 days later courtesy of an ill-timed bye week, the fans are calling for heads to roll in the aftermath of the embarrassing showing.
Is it any wonder that Marshall’s players appeared to have a players’ only meeting in the locker room after the game?
And just to add insult to injury, Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson and defensive coordinator Tim Billings are former Marshall assistant coaches. Guess what Hopson’s record is against Marshall now?
• Some Herd fans were miffed at the news that South Carolina had signed to play Akron at noon on December 1.
That replaces the Marshall at South Carolina game that got canceled on Sept. 15 because of Hurricane Florence. MU fans obviously thought Marshall should have signed for the game instead of Akron.
But that wasn’t possible.
When it occurred last week, Marshall still had to leave the first week of December open in case it advanced to the C-USA championship game. MU officials were handcuffed.
Add that to last Saturday’s damage.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at email@example.com.