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Marshall running back Rasheen Ali (22) rushes up the field on a carry as he Herd takes on Appalachian State during an NCAA football game on Thursday, Sept 23, 2021, at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, N.C.

Chuck Landon Grades the Mountaineers … Oklahoma 16, WVU 13

OFFENSE: B — These two offenses were amazingly even. The Sooners had 57 yards rushing to WVU’s 47. Oklahoma led in first down, 19-18. Ditto plays with the Sooners leading 64-63. The Sooners led in average yards per rush, 2.0 to 1.6 yards. Oklahoma was 4 for 4 in the red zone, while WVU was 3 for 3. Going into this game, who would have imagined it would be this even?

DEFENSE: A+ — It was lights-out good. Sooners star QB Spencer Rattler was under pressure nearly the entire game and finished with zero yards on nine carries. WVU had six tackles for loss, including four sacks (two by Taijh Alston). WVU held the high-powered Sooners offense to only one TD. Who expected that?

SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Punter Tyler Sumpter was impressive, averaging 46.6 yards with only one return for two yards. And kicker Casey Legg was perfect on 25- and 21-yard field goals. The return game, however, managed just 4.0 yards per punt return and one kickoff return for 27 yards.

COACHING: A+ — It’s a shame that head coach Neal Brown and his staff turned in the best coaching performances of their careers in a loss, but that was the case. The Mountaineers clearly out-coached Oklahoma.

OVERALL: A- — Nobody can out-coach a bad snap from center on second down from Oklahoma’s 12-yard line, resulting in a 21-yard loss in the fourth quarter. That determined the outcome.

Chuck Landon Grades the Herd … App State 31, Marshall 30

OFFENSE: D — For the second consecutive game, not to mention second consecutive defeat, MU was shutout in the fourth quarter despite entering the period with a lead. The Thundering Herd managed only one TD pass and just one rushing touchdown.

DEFENSE: F — It allowed 566 yards total offense, including 283 yards rushing. Besides that, MU yielded 38 first downs while App State ran 93 plays. The Mountaineers had a whopping 15 minute advantage in time of possession (37:38 to 22:22). MU simply couldn’t get off the field.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C — Normally, when a team scores on a 97-yard kickoff return for a TD, this grade would be an “A.” But the missed 32-yard field goal in the fourth quarter by Shane Ciucci dropped the grade.

COACHING: F — The offense can’t stay on the field and the defense can’t stay off. That’s a very bad combination.

OVERALL: F — Blowing two straight fourth-quarter leads in consecutive games is simply not acceptable.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at

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