Monday, September 22, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Football Recap

You'll probably notice from most of my football coverage that my favorite teams are Marshall University, Virginia Tech and the Carolina Panthers. From time to time, I talk about other teams, but you can find in-depth coverage about teams such as USC and Ohio State just about anywhere. So, with today's post, I'd like to continue my coverage of my favorite three teams' performances this past weekend.
  • The Good — The Marshall University Thundering Herd advanced to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in Conference USA play this weekend with a win over Southern Mississippi. Do you know who the #1 team in standings for C-USA is? No, it's not East Carolina. That's right, East Carolina is only 1-0 in C-USA play (and got knocked off their winning streak by the ACC's NC State this weekend), meaning Marshall has actually played more C-USA games and is undefeated in them. In fact, the Herd's only loss came at the hands of a then-#11 Wisconsin, now the #9 team in the country. Not bad for a team that's rebuilding and has a freshman quarterback. Go Herd! This is Marshall's first 2-0 start since leaving the MAC for C-USA. Sophomore running back Darius Marshall rushed for 128 yards and one touchdown Saturday, while freshman QB Mark Cann was 16 of 25 with no interceptions.
  • The Bad — All that talk about the Cardiac Cats of 2003 making a return. Well, you can forget it — probably. Jake Delhomme's sack for a fumbled TD return by the Minnesota Vikings was just the beginning of the Carolina Panthers' problems Sunday. The Panthers are now 2-1. The Vikings had a lot resting on this game, that's true. They are now 1-2, but would've been 0-3 had they lost to Carolina, and that's just not something any team is going to take lying down in the NFL. The Viking defense brought up a stellar performance, jamming Panthers' wide receiver Steve Smith at the line, preventing him from getting deep enough for anyone to notice his return after two weeks of suspension. There's no way around it, the Panthers played poorly and Minnesota pulled it out for a much-needed win. It's way too early in the season to say the Panthers are done for, and they'll likely at least be a wild-card contender in the playoffs — they just aren't that breakthrough team many fans were hoping they had become.
  • The Ugly — "We never claim to be pretty," said head coach Frank Beamer after the Hokies' 20-17 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels Saturday. It's a good thing because that win was ugly. But it was a win. Period. When I saw the score at the end of the game, it was surreal. I couldn't believe the Hokies won after such an ugly game. Tyrod Taylor, the quarterback even I have been guilty of glorifying (as well as many other VT fans), threw two interceptions and zero touchdowns. After his injury, I was scared to death when fifth-year senior QB Sean Glennon came off the bench. I figured he'd throw two more INTs. However, Glennon proved his worth as a calm, collected senior QB who can lead a team down the field. He had a nice completion, but it was really the VT running game that kicked it in when it was needed most after being asleep most of the rest of the game. Two factors won that game — VT's defense holding out to keep the score close when the offense wasn't getting it done and UNC's 14 penalties for 121 yards. Had UNC learned the rules of football before taking the field, it could've been a very different game. The Hokies face Nebraska Saturday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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