Report Card: MU at Troy State

<p>Marshall had another down game in what is becoming a familiar, if not enjoyable, pattern to Herd fans. Great effort at Tennessee, not much emotion against Toledo. Great win at #6 Kansas State, miscues and misery against Troy State. The grade card looks similar, some areas not bad against the Trojans, some areas near failing, and there might even be an "I" or two-not for Incompletes, but for Injuries which have bit the Herd as bad as they did in 2000 (the last time MU was sub-.500 in October.

Quarterback: C Great return for Stan Hill, except for interceptions, one of which was returned for a key touchdown in the game. Normally, 25-of-39 for 266 yards and three touchdowns should produce win. Graham Gochneaur was ineffective early against active Troy State defense. An average effort, short of above average effort that former Herd quarterbacks have produced in similar situations.

Running Backs: I Started game with pretty good effort. Earl Charles ran 10 times for 69 yards, almost seven yards per carry. "I" is for incomplete, which happened when Herd abandoned run when Hill entered game (only five rushes in second half!). Also "I" for injury, as Butchie Wallace broke his hand.

Offensive Line: B Good effort, protecting inmobile Hill for only one sack. Running backs averaged 4.4 yards per carry. Tough night, with McPeek and Bullock out for several plays in game.

Receivers: C Not as good as you would think, but receiving game has to be more than Josh Davis (12-177, 79-TD) and Darius Watts (9-75, 15-TD). Tight ends only caught four passes, all to Jason Rader including touchdown, against seven and eight men dropping into deep coverage. Only Brad Bates (5-36) caught any more balls, despite Jason Schroeder, Hiram Moore and Tremel Guillory being in game.

Special Teams: D Klint Rose has got to play like he practices. Blocked punt come straight up middle, should have seen Ghent coming. Ben Lewis had a good game, with 45 yard average on five punts in relief of Rose and added field goal. Dropped punt by Chris Royal gave flashback to 2002 to Herd fans. Kickoffs deep by Ian O'Conner, coverage good as well, but Royal has to tell Charles when to stay in endzone on MU returns.

Defensive Line: B Good job until late in game by beat up, short handed group. Missing Marcus Hairston for the second game in a row, Herd got good play from injured players including Jamus Martin, Jonathan Goddard, Paul Sinclair (including extra-point block) and Toriano Brown. Freshman tackle Roger Garrett stipped TSU quarterback, leading to Herd score.

Linebackers: B Again, struggling with injuries both before and during game, group held up until late in game. J.T. Rembert did not play and Herd misses him in lineup. Kevin Atkins very effective until hyper-flexed his back on tackle. Dionte' Wilson and Carlos Morgan filled in admirably. Charlie Tynes knows better than late personal foul, somewhat undoing six tackle effort. Gladstone Coke led defense with eight tackles and fumble recovery that led to score.

Secondary: F Safety has become unsafe to effort of defense-getting a "hat on a hat" and leaving safeties to make plays, which they aren't. Neither Moriah Anderson or Lonnie McCowan effective against run or pass and one wonders if Chris Chissom will be in against Kent State with two more weeks of practice. Roberto Terrell played well (four tackles, one tackle-for-loss) until injury. Willie Smith making too many tackles from behind so far and only had one assisted tackles, no solos, in entire Troy State game.

Overall: D Under-average effort comes up short against better than Herd fans like to admit Troy State team, playing the biggest game in the history of their program. Marshall players get one week to rest, while coaches work overtime on: way to stop turnovers; motivate players week in and week out; and how to stop dangerous Joshua Cribbs and the suddenly resurgent Kent State team at the Homecoming game on October 11, 4:30 p.m., at Marshall Stadium. We'll see you there.

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