Leftwich is Sold on Trod Buggs

Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich knew all along what running back Trod Buggs could do. Buggs was thrust into the role of go-to running back last Saturday night when Chanston Rodgers -Marshall's only available running back due to injuries to Franklin Wallace and Brandon Carey- went down with a knee injury against UMass.

Trod Buggs finished the night with 12 carries, 128 yards, one receiving TD, and a rushing average of 10.8 yards per carry. Impressive for a guy who saw limited running action in 2000, primarily in short-yardage situations or as a lead blocker.

"We always knew, if needed, Trod could go out there and run the ball," Leftwich said of Buggs' abilities after the game. "He just proved it. Trod's an athlete. He can do this any time we ask him to. We asked him tonight to go out there and tote the rock."

And indeed, Buggs took the rock and ran with it. And ran some more. Then a bit more, in case there was someone in Marshall Stadium who didn't get it: Buggs is a solid running back, with more speed than most thought he had. Plus, Buggs is powerful enough to drag a UMass defensive back four yards across the goal line, as he did Saturday night.

Leftwich spilled the beans in the post-game interview room.

"Everybody thinks he's just a short-yardage back," Leftwich added. "But as he showed you, he's got some speed and can make guys miss. It's tough to tackle 32. That's a big, strong guy. He might be short, but he plays strong."

Buggs, dragging the UMass defender to the end zone in the first quarter.

And Leftwich does make a good point here. Up until the UMass game, Buggs was only used in short-yardage situations, to take advantage of his incredible leg strength and power to get the first down. But on Saturday night, Buggs showed that he can break the long run (his longest was for 20 yards) and make cuts and turns to make defenders miss.

Buggs' most impressive run came after a short pass from Leftwich late in the fourth quarter. Buggs caught the short pass, made a defender miss, then was wrapped up at the five yard line by a UMass defender, and it appeared that he was stopped. However, Buggs merely put a hand down on the turf and carried the UMass defender with him -literally on his back- across the goal line for the touchdown, wow-ing the 27,000 in the stands at Marshall Stadium.

Trod Buggs had arrived on the scene as a bona fide running back.

"That's Trod. He's an athlete," summed up Leftwich. "He did everything we asked of him tonight."

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