What if the “Bermuda Triangle” were located in West Virginia?
Wouldn’t that be scary?
Well, who says the legendary, infamous stretch of territory hasn’t moved to dry ground in the Mountain State?
I mean, it certainly has seemed that way during the 2019 college football season when West Virginia University and Marshall University come out of their respective halftime locker rooms and begin playing the third quarter.
Faster than anybody can say “Flight 19,” the Mountaineers’ and Herd’s offenses simply vanish without a trace for most — and sometimes all — of those 15 minutes.
Just consider the results.
Heading into the eventual 17-14 loss to Baylor last week, WVU had scored a measly 23 points — including only two touchdowns — during third quarters vs. FBS competition.
Meanwhile at Marshall, the Thundering Herd was even more “triangular” with only 18 points — including just one TD — during eight third quarters vs. FBS competition.
The third-quarter ineptitude by not just one, but both of West Virginia’s FBS teams is rather mind-boggling.
The good news, however, is perhaps the Mountaineers broke out of the “Triangle” last week against Baylor by scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter.
“You know, everything works in cycles,” said WVU coach Neal Brown. “We’ve actually ... to look back, even in the third quarter at Missouri we played pretty good. Then, we came out and played really well in the third quarter vs. N.C. State. I think we had two or three games in a row where we scored on the first drive of the third quarter. Then, we went through that spell there, where we didn’t play well for whatever reason after the Kansas game.”
In WVU’s next three games, it scored three points vs. Texas and zero against both Iowa State and Oklahoma during the third quarters.
It looked like more of the same against Baylor.
“We came out of the locker room pretty strong,” said Brown. “We got a turnover on the first play, drove it down and got a first-and-goal at the nine. That’s when the second of the bad snaps occurred.”
But this time the Mountaineers beat the “Triangle” with a long TD pass and a kickoff return for a touchdown.
It wasn’t an accident.
“That is something we really concentrated on during the bye week,” said Brown. “If you look at it, we call it the ‘middle eight.’ The last four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half.
“That’s something that we really talked to our team a lot about during the bye week. We changed some formatting of practice where we kind of practice in quarters — the first, second, third and fourth quarter.
“We kind of set up practice where we would be better coming off of a break. I think it did help us.”
The proof will be told when WVU’s game against Texas Tech at noon Saturday in Milan Puskar Stadium heads into the third quarter.
As for MU, the Herd wasn’t aware of the third-quarter “Triangle” problems as it practices on a bye week.
“I didn’t know that,” said quarterback Isaiah Green, when informed MU had scored only one TD during a third quarter. “I know we struggle in the third quarter, but I didn’t know that. I just feel like we’ve got to do a better job of coming out after halftime and starting fast.
“I think we’ve just got to do a better job of locking that focus in before it’s a do-or-die situation. Just start fast in the beginning of the game and the beginning of the second half.”
Whatever the case, one issue is certain.
The “Triangle” needs to go back to Bermuda.