Chuck Landon: Thrill of whipping cupcakes won't last
Those cupcakes sure were tasty.
In the press box?
But they were also pretty yummy down on the playing field at Edwards Stadium during the last two Saturdays.
First, Southern Miss showed up on Nov. 2 to supply Marshall with a cupcake of a 61-13 victory. I think the Eagles even had frosting on their helmets.
Then, UAB arrived at noon Saturday wearing shoulder pads and sprinkles. Yes, sprinkles. The result was a 56-14 loss to Marshall as yet another cupcake opponent in Edwards Stadium.
Two consecutive games.
Two consecutive cupcakes.
There must be a birthday party somewhere. I mean, somewhere other than Marshall’s home football schedule.
So far, five home games have featured four cupcakes. First, Miami (Ohio) showed up for a delicious 52-14 win. Next, Gardner-Webb supplied a cream-filled 55-0 victory. Then, there were the back-to-back twinkies served up by Southern Miss and UAB.
Who did the scheduling — Hostess?
Not that the occasional cupcake isn’t delicious. It is. But like most things in life, there can be too much of a good thing. Southern Miss and UAB back-to-back on consecutive Saturdays in Edwards Stadium certainly fall into that category.
The hope is outscoring the last two opponents by an average score of 56.5 to 12.5 points gets Marshall’s players past the debilitating 51-49 loss at Middle Tennessee State.
The wish is averaging 646.5 yards total offense and 342.5 yards rushing per game along with 11.2 yards per play and a sugar-rush of 11.6 yards per running play puts the Herd in a sweet state of mind for a crucial game at Tulsa at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
That the cupcakes were saccharin-laced and created a false sense of security.
So, which will it be — sugar buzz or sugar crash?
Doc Holliday got a sour look on his face at the mere contemplation of the latter.
“I can assure you that there were no Gatorade baths or long dances in the locker room because we won six games,” said Marshall’s fourth-year head coach, referring to the win over UAB making the Herd bowl eligible.
“That’s what we expect to do around here. Our standards and expectations are not to get bowl eligible and win six games, it’s to go play for championships.”
Granted, it’s nice not waiting until the last game of the regular season to attain bowl eligibility. But Holliday is keeping that accomplishment in modest perspective.
“It’s all well and good,” he said, “but we have higher expectations. Our fan base does, our community does and our football program does. We’re not about winning six games. We’re about having higher standards and expectations.”
Amen and pass the tougher opponent collection plate.
“He said that to you guys (the media) and he said it right before that to us,” said star center Chris Jasperse. “We shouldn’t be happy with just being bowl eligible.
“Now, we’re going for a championship and we have to take it one more game at a time and go and take Tulsa. So, ultimately, we can take the conference championship.”
That’s the correct mindset.
Rather than languishing in the sugary lull of beating up on helpless cupcakes, the focus for Marshall needs to be upcoming games at Tulsa, at FIU and home to East Carolina.
The cupcakes were dessert.
The next three games are the main course.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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