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Chuck Landon: Not much shaking for Marshall in loss to UAB

Nov. 11, 2012 @ 12:28 AM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- It's a shame there weren't two earthquakes on Saturday.

If there had been one here to match the 4.3 tremor that rocked Huntington, perhaps, it would have jarred Marshall out of its complacency.

Or not.

On second thought, Charles Richter himself probably couldn't have quaked a Herd that measured 0.0 on the inspiration scale.

Why, I don't think a 9.5 jolt -- the largest in earthquake history -- could have jolted unmotivated Marshall out of its doldrums here during the first half on Saturday.

That's why the seemingly everything to play for Herd was embarrassed by the nothing-to-lose UAB Blazers, 38-31, before 60,019 empty seats and 11,981 fans Saturday in Legion Field.

The number of empty seats nearly matched Marshall's apathy in one of the most embarrassing performances in years.

The Herd clearly didn't match UAB's preparation, motivation or desire. The obvious question is: why?

There are no answers.

And there are even less excuses.

For the second consecutive game, Marshall's opponent was better prepared than the Herd. That's inexcusable.

For the second time in the last three contests, Marshall came out flat for what was obviously a big game. That's inexcusable.

For the. ... well, to be honest, I've lost count. Let's just say for the umpteenth time this season Marshall got out-schemed, out-played and out-coached. That's inexcusable.

The entire first half from execution to intensity to desire was inexcusable.

"Nah, we didn't," answered running back Kevin Grooms when asked if the Herd came out with enough intensity in the first half. "I feel like we came out slow.

"We weren't being who we've always been. It's very frustrating because we felt we could beat them. It was execution. There's no excuse.

"We didn't show up in the first half."

Oh, sure, Marshall put on a valiant, last-ditch effort late in the third quarter and throughout the fourth period, out-scoring UAB, 24-7.

But why did it take so long? Did someone miss the memo that college football games are 60 minutes long and the first 41:30 means just as much as the last 18:30.

That's how long Marshall played in this game. ... the final 18:30.

That, too, is inexcusable.

"I felt like we left it all out on the field," said Grooms. "But too late."

And too little.

Too little intensity. Too little motivation. Too little sense of urgency.

Or was it too many Blazers dropping into coverage? That was the official answer by Marshall coaches and players alike.

"They were dropping eight and rushing three," said head coach Doc Holliday. "When they do that, you have to run the football. We just didn't run the ball very well."

That led to an un-Herd of 28 rushing plays compared to only 13 passes in the first half.

"They dropped eight on us," concurred quarterback Rakeem Cato. "If a team drops eight on you, why not run?"

Perhaps, because it was working almost as well as Marshall's inept special teams.

"It took longer than it should have for us to adjust to them dropping eight," admitted offensive tackle Jordan Jeffries.

Why?

"We came out flat," said Jeffries, positively identifying the lackadaisical elephant in the room. "It's just as simple as that. We didn't have energy and we didn't execute.

"You have to play four quarters to be successful."

Precisely.

The game began at 3:30 p.m. CST, not 5:45 p.m.

But, apparently, Marshall forgot to check the time.

Darned earthquake must have stopped their watches.

Chuck Landon is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827, or email him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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