If you had a sense that Saturday's game was over when East Carolina made it 27-10 right after the second-half kickoff, you would be correct. The Herd hasn't rallied from two scores down to win since Sept. 9, 2006, when it fell behind 14-0 to ... Hofstra. Marshall managed to turn that into a 54-31 rout.
Three-score rallies? Definitely not in the "dead ball" era.
The reasons for the Herd's 2010 malaise are comprehensive and will continue to be hashed and rehashed. The most disturbing trends Saturday were the failure to run the ball and Brian Anderson's sixth, seventh and eighth road interceptions.
The former would have been almost excusable against the 2009 Pirates. Considering how well the Herd ran at times against West Virginia and Bowling Green, it indicates that the depth-deprived offensive line is tiring out and/or getting banged up. Further concern: Right guard C.J. Wood walked off slowly Saturday.
I figure the lack of a running game figured into one of Anderson's picks Saturday, the second one. He wasn't happy with the pass on the corner route, but consider this: The free safety who nabbed that pass, Derek Blacknall, didn't exactly have to worry about run support. Comfortably playing center field, he zipped over for a nifty swipe.
Barring A.J. Graham's recovery from his high ankle sprain, Anderson remains the Herd's best option by far at QB, even in the spread. And it's time to admit this: Darius Marshall's ill-advised departure has really hurt. He might not have run for much against UCF, but he often made his blockers look better.
Coach Doc Holliday, coordinator Bill Legg and co-coordinator Tony Petersen have an unenviable task. To succeed, they must pull the Herd out of the "dead-ball" era.
So far, the offense is even deader.
If you missed it, Bowling Green lost 30-6 to Kent State on Saturday to become bowl ineligible.
Yep, you read that right. The Falcons fell to 1-7. Got crushed by Kent State. At home, even.
Since riding the "pick-six express" to that 44-28 win over Marshall, the Falcons have gotten crushed by Michigan, lost to Buffalo, fallen to Ohio by 24, had a near-miss against new MAC bully Temple and racked up minus-10 yards rushing against the 3-4 Golden Flashes.
The MAC has one winless team, a dreadful 0-8 bunch of Akron Zips. The Falcons would be another, if not for the win over ... you know.
Go ahead and tell me the loss to BG was a direct product of a "hangover" from the Herd's overtime loss to West Virginia. Even if it's true, it's unacceptable - when you come off a tough loss, you must take it out on the next team, especially if it's as bad as BG clearly is.
I suspect the Herd's real hangover has come from the loss to BG.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.