Yes, he sees the missed plays. He points to one long touchdown pass UAB scored on Keith Baxter, who fell on the play. When the Blazers threw that pattern again, Baxter intercepted the pass.
"It's finally clicking," Rippon said. "They're great kids. They got exposed under the harshest conditions, and the game is starting to slow down a little bit for them. Things are happening repetitively, and it's sunk in and now they're sort of playing to their talent level."
Special teams have been the Herd's growing headache over the past few weeks, sparking vows from Holliday to use more starters on the kicking units if need be.
Some good news on that front: The Cougars are last in Conference USA in kickoff returns (17.13) and punt returns (3.61).
Houston has been riddled with injuries in recent weeks and could have three of its four captains out - guard Jacolby Ashworth, star running back Charles Sims and cornerback D.J. Hayden. Ashworth has been ruled out with a leg injury, Sims has been termed "very, very doubtful" with an ankle injury and Hayden recently suffered a near-fatal vein tear.
The Cougars got an emotional boost when Hayden left the hospital early this week and addressed the team. How far that emotion goes is always an unknown factor.
So are the emotions surrounding Marshall's senior day. Herd fans will say goodbye to a small class of eight seniors, but a few of those may be sidelined with injuries, including receiver Aaron Dobson and linebacker Devin Arrington.
Their younger teammates vow to pick up the slack.
"Our fans, they're down just like we're down," said Chris Jasperse. "But we've got to go out with a bang for our seniors, for what they've done for our program, where they've gotten us. Johnny [Bruhin, the veteran guard] has been here six years, he's put his heart and soul into this team.
"The injuries he's fought through, the back surgeries, we've got to let him go out with a bang."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.