I had some great pizza in Charleston, W. Va. on Saturday.
The place was called Pies & Pints. I went with App State Mania's David Ware, who so graciously agreed to let me ride with him to the game (I had fun on the car ride. Not so sure about David, though).
We sat a table in the center of a downtown street. Went with a classic pepperoni. Some of the best crust I've ever had. It was like a Krispy Kreme doughnut in the way that the heat made work. It was also the size of a manhole cover. To see the pie, go check out my Twitter. Too bad we were set to work because some of the brews looked tasty as they passed us by on the way to other tables.
OK, Ethan, that's enough. Talk a little about football, you're probably saying. I just didn't want to bang you over the head with that game.
Marshall was better on Saturday. It's as simple as that. They found a way to hold App State to one of the worst rushing performances I've seen in my time on the beat.
That put a lot of strain on a defense that actually played pretty well. It really piled on when Marshall connected on a 67-yard pass that set up an easy run to the left for quarterback Grant Wells. Third downs became a bit of a struggle (Marshall went 7 of 15 on those), and that's going to stand out more when your defense is really the one pressured to answer the bell.
You'll get some proper answers to what was learned next week against Campbell, a team that's played two Sun Belt teams pretty tough. And you'll really see if the Mountaineers have improved when Louisiana comes to town.
But here's the deal: Losses happen, and they don't have to be the end of the world. App State football and its fan base have high expectations. Losses have been few and far between, and those blemishes can get more sore because of it.
Marshall is a good football team. There wasn't anything fluky about it. They just won. And as Shawn Clark said, App State can't continue to shoot itself in the foot with turnovers either.
This is a program that has experienced much coaching turnover the last couple years, and it's a first-year head coach learning with his first staff. Might be worth giving them a little more time than two games to figure stuff out. A rough game next week would be serious cause for concern. But it's not there yet.
On a personal note, I really want to thank the folks who checked in on me this week. It's been a doozy.
I'm happy to be here, still working this gig. Just know that you're appreciated by your beat writer.
Take care and thanks for reading,