Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Detroit Tigers Next Skipper?

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

I don't think the Detroit Tigers Managerial Search will be as complicated as it seems.

There are some good names out there but it's just a matter of determining if this team needs an overhaul or stays with continuity.

Are they looking for a Big Splash?

Or a Diamond in the Rough?

There is no question that I thought they were blindsided by this move because they thought they could get one more year out of Jim Leyland.

With Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez becoming free agents and Max Scherzer in line for a big payday either through arbitration or free agency after the 2014 season, Leyland could have had a great shot at a fourth straight post-season bid.

But this is where we are at.

The Tigers didn't have what the Pistons had when they fired Rick Carlisle and hired Larry Brown with their Succession Plan.

Brown led the team to the NBA Finals twice and won a championship in his only two years roaming the sidelines at The Palace of Auburn Hills. He bolted for his dream that turned out to be his nightmare job with the New York Knicks and Detroit proceeded to hire Flip Saunders, who led the Pistons deep into the playoffs, however, falling short of a championship losing in the Conference Finals.

Here is My Breakdown as to who the Next Tigers Skipper should be. Again, it's My opinion and I encourage any kind of feedback.

According to the Online Sports Book Bovada, I will attach the odds in parenthesis to what I believe and mention a few more names.

1. Brad Ausmus (4-1) is what Leyland said the Tigers need and that's young at the age of 44. He was the Tigers catcher in 1996, 1999-2000. He's played 17 years and is regarded as one of the smartest players in baseball.

2. Lloyd McClendon (9-2) age 54 is a great internal candidate. He's been a Tigers Coach since 2006 under Leyland. His only stop was with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2001-2005 where he was 336-446 and a .430 winning percentage. Considering that Pittsburgh has been dormant for 20 years, Lloyd deserves a second chance.

Once upon a time a guy by the name of Chuck Daly coached a horrible franchise in 1981-82 and went 9-32 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. All he did was win two championships with the Detroit Pistons in his second stop and compiled a 13-year coaching record of 638-437 mark, 12 playoff appearances en route to the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.

I'd say that Daly did pretty well. I see no reason McClendon can't have success plus if he keeps coaches Gene Lamont and Jeff Jones then this becomes a seamless transition.

3. Tom Brookens (5-1) at age 60 is a Tiger in every sense of the word. But I see him more as a coach than a manager.

4. Torey Luvullo (5-1) is 48 and is another former Tiger that is serving as Bench Coach of the Boston Red Sox. He figures to be busy until October 31. If he's the Tigers choice, they'll wait otherwise he'll manage someday, somewhere.

5. Gene Lamont (11-2) will be 67 on Christmas Day and he's been a manager for the Chicago White Sox  (1992-1995) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1997-2000). Can't hold the Pirates gig against Lamont but at this point of his career, his knowledge is best served as a bench coach to assist a young manager.

6. Larry Parrish (8-1) will be 60 on November 10 and has previously managed the Tigers. He's a company man having spent plenty of time managing Detroit's farm teams. But I don't see a second tenure as Tigers skipper for Parrish.

7. Manny Acta (8-1) will be 45 on January 11, 2014 and is 372-518 with the Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians. The Tigers are familiar with him as a divisional manager. If he interviews well then he could be a long shot for the job. But there are too many good candidates for this opening, however, he could still be a coach for Detroit because he can relate to the Latin players.

8. Dusty Baker (15-1) is 64 but I believe he has one more managerial stop left in him. According to My Mentor Tony DeMarco, he believes that Baker could land with the Los Angeles Dodgers if Don Mattingly is removed as pilot. I'll take Tony's word and Baker did play for Los Angeles from 1976-1983. He also played and managed for rival the San Francisco Giants. Need I say more about a Southern California Homecoming. He would be a safe choice for the Tigers if it ever happened.

9. Tony Pena (15-1) is 56. He's a bench coach for the New York Yankees as Joe Girardi right-hand man. He has one managerial stop with a down franchise leading the Kansas City Royals to a 198-285 mark and a winning percentage of .410 from 2002-2005. Again, another prominent Latin name, but is he a fit with the Tigers? I don't know. I'd like to see him get another opportunity.

Here are some other names that were not on the board worth thinking about,.

Tampa Bay Rays Coach Dave Martinez, 49, is currently a bench coach for Joe Maddon. Look for his name to come up as a promising candidate as he learns the trade from the Best Small Market Manager in Baseball, speaking of Maddon.

Two past managers that have won the World Series include Charlie Manuel, who will be 70 on January 4, 2014 and 49-year-old Ozzie Guillen.

We'll start with Manuel.

In a 13-year managerial career with the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies he compiled a 1000-826 mark. He's an intriguing short term candidate for a team that feels it's close to winning a title. His downfall in Philadelphia was attributed to trades that sent key players to contenders.

Manuel's 2008 World Championship with Philadelphia does make him a good candidate if team's are willing to overlook his age.

As for Guillen, his body of work was great until he took the Miami Marlins job.

In his lone season with the Marlins in their new ballpark, the team was 69-93 with a .426 winning percentage. He alienated the fan base by proclaiming he loved Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro.

Prior to coming to Miami, Guillen won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox in 2005. He has a career record of 747-710 with a .513 percentage. The last time the White Sox won a World Series was in 1917.

If you want drama, great quotes and to see the Tigers vs White Sox rivalry get more intense, then he's your pick. Is he a good fit for Dombrowski and Ilitch, I have major doubts. I've always thought of Guillen as the Latin version of the late Tigers Manager Billy Martin. He's fiery, passionate and I enjoy the way he goes about getting the best of his players. He's well liked and respected in the clubhouse.

Baseball does miss him in a dugout and I have a feeling that he'll get another chance. Has he learned his lessons and is he more trouble than he's worth with the drama he brings? Stay tuned. There is another chapter to be written.

Finally, if you want a long shot candidate, here is one.

He's not mentioned on any of the lists that I've seen but he'd be a great fit.

Because of tampering rules, the Tigers wouldn't be allowed to contact Oakland A's Manager Bob Melvin, who will be 52 on October 28th.

But Melvin made his debut playing for the Tigers in 1985 under Sparky Anderson. He played 10-years for seven different teams.

He's managed 1,388 games with three different teams and has a career mark of 705-683 with a .508 percentage for the Seattle Mariners (2003-2004), Arizona Diamondbacks (2005-2009) and the Oakland A's 2011-Present.

He won the 2007 National League Manager of the Year and the 2012 American League Manager of the Year Award.

His team plays in a stadium that draws poorly and has sewer problems. He managed two great playoff series against the Tigers only to come up short.

Give Melvin lots of resources and talent, plus he's a good age, then you have a guy that's more than capable of filling Leyland's Big Shoes.

A few other names that were mentioned in preliminary searches include former Tiger Kirk Gibson, Future Hall of Fame Manager Tony LaRussa, former Pirates Manager Jim Tracy and LA Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.

I could see Tracy as a candidate but Gibson has committed to stay in Arizona and Scioscia  is under contract. He would be a good fit in Detroit as would Tracy, 57. Any former Pirates manager is worth of consideration since the franchise had 20-consecutive losing seasons.

I would also look at San Diego Padres Manager Bud Black, a former pitching coach.

Look for Boston Red Sox Third Base Coach Brian Butterfield to get some interviews down the road. I covered Brian back in our days with the Fort Lauderdale Yankees back in 1982.

During the 2010 off-season, the 55-year old native of Bangor, Maine., was one of four finalists for the Toronto Blue Jays job. He is the son of Jack Butterfield, the former Vice-President of Player Development and Scouting for the New York Yankees.

This guy is a baseball lifer and being in a baseball family, a good showing by Boston in the 2013 World Series could easily put him on a team's radar for a future managers job.

I could see Butterfield filling out a line-up card one day.

Now it will be interesting to see who the Tigers next manager will be but with this list of names mentioned in this story, I'll also be curious to see where these other skippers land.

My longtime friend Tom Gage, in the photo with me at Marlins Park in the Press Box, of the Detroit News has worked with many managers through the years and I'll be curious as to what he has to say next spring about the newest hire.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Too Much Specialization

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTO BY CANDICE EBLING

Now that the shock of the retirement of former Tigers Manager Jim Leyland has sunk in, the question remains, who will be given the keys to Detroit's Rolls Royce Starting Pitching Staff that President and General Manager Dave Dombrowski has assembled?

What manager gets to make up a line-up card with Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez?

While it's too early to predict who will be sitting in the Tigers Dugout, there is one thing that I hope the next skipper does differently to the now departed Leyland.

Fox Analyst Tim McCarver, who is retiring after the World Series hit a bulls eye when he said "that today's managers are prisoners of pitch counts."

This is so true and it's coming from a man that is a Hall of Famer, who caught two players that also have plaques in Cooperstown, NY.

Steve Carlton and Bob Gibson were legendary performers.

McCarver was Carlton's personal catcher. He was behind the plate when Gibson defeated the Boston Red Sox in the 1967 World Series then back again as runner-ups when the Tigers defeated the Cardinals in the 1968 Fall Classic.

McCarver has also been awesome broadcaster. I've learned a lot by watching and listening to him. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame winning the Ford C Frick Award in 2012 which is in the Broadcasters Wing.

I totally understand a manager's desire to protect his pitchers. But a pitch count, please.

Also, we're in the day of the five man starting rotation therefore there is an extra day's rest between starts, thus I would think that complete games should still be common. The only time a four man rotation exists is in the playoffs.

These athletes spend more time in the weight room, have modern day medicine and trainers that work with them. By no means am I talking about steroids. I'm talking about technology and more resources to keep them healthy.

I hope the new manager realizes that by having more complete games that it reduces the dependency of the bullpen.

Once upon a time there were two and three inning saves. Nobody can tell me that these can't be a part of baseball again as they once were.

Going through five relief pitchers in two innings makes me sick especially when the starter is having success. For that matter using that many pitchers in a short period still makes me ill and while I understand managers using strategy, there is the fine line of over managing.

Baseball is easy to second guess and I'm not here to do that. I'm just trying to put things in perspective and any manager that has any kind of success in baseball to me is alright in my book.

I've said it before that one of the greatest athletes in pro sports Michael Jordan played it briefly, got smart by trading his cleats for sneakers and won more championships on the hard wood.

Need I say more?

If I'm an old school traditionalist, then I'm guilty as charged.

If I'm a purist then I'm guilty as charged.

There is a reason that my beard and hair is gray.

I've seen a lot and figure to see plenty more before I'm done breathing both in life and in sports.

In the meantime, I'm not asking for much.

Even former Texas Rangers CEO and Hall of Fame Pitcher Nolan Ryan tried to have his team more conditioned to go deep into games.

During the Tigers 4-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox, there were a couple games that starters could have completed.

One that comes to mind is Game 2 when Detroit had a 5-1 lead and Max Scherzer was pitching a gem.

Max told Leyland he was finished, got pulled and the bullpen which is been a problem for Detroit all-season imploded thus the Tigers lost 6-5 in what turned out to be one of two key turning points in the series.

We've seen complete games from Justin Verlander. There is no reason to think we can't see a few more. I'm not saying a lot more but a few more from Verlander photographed in the dugout and others.

There is no crime in having a fresh bullpen.

I realize that today's owners have a lot of money invested into these young players.

But please tell me if Joba Chamberlain of the New York Yankees or Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals have had the stellar careers they were expected to have.

Last year, the Nationals cost themselves a chance to advance deep into the playoffs because they had an innings count on the young hurler.

In 2012, Strasburg had a 15-6 record with a 3.16 ERA in 159.1 innings as Washington had a 98-64 mark.

This season, his numbers regressed as he went 8-9 with a 3.00 ERA in 183 innings as the Nationals completed an 86-76 season.

Manager Davey Johnson retired and it will be interesting to see what happens how a new pilot sails with Strasburg.

Strasburg has a career record of 29-19 with a 2.96 ERA in 434.1 innings.

Chamberlain was considered a projected starter but has never been able to fill that role. He is a free agent and I have a feeling that while the Yankees let very few of them get away, Chamberlain could be pitching elsewhere in 2014.

Just as it will be when the Tigers hire their new manager.

I have a feeling that one of Dombrowski's key questions during the interview process is how he handles a pitching staff.

One piece of advice I have for the Tigers is to keep Pitching Coach Jeff Jones since he has the respect of the pitching staff and has won with it.

Other than that, Dombrowski doesn't need any advice from us since he's had a great track record for many years.

The only thing he has left to accomplish is win a World Series for an owner that's is 84 before time runs out on Mike Ilitch health wise.

I'm pulling hard to get this championship as are so many others.

I'm sure that in a perfect world that when Commissioner Bud Selig retires after next season, he'd love to hand the World Series Trophy to Ilitch. I doubt that anyone will debate this or the fact it will take some time for Dombrowski to get this hire right.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com.



Motown Mastermind

MIAMI---BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

I'll never forget Spring Training of 2005.

I went to Jupiter, Florida., to cover a St. Louis Cardinals game and Jim Leyland was managing this contest while Manager Tony LaRussa went on the road.

During our interview, Leyland looked relaxed and was having a good time.

He was six years removed from his last managerial job with the Colorado Rockies where his squad finished in last place 28 games back of the National League West Division Winner, the Arizona Diamondbacks (100-62).

Colorado finished with a 72-90 mark in 1999 and Leyland had to live through a season of high altitudes, tons of home runs and the nightmare of coaching a pitching staff in the Rocky Mountains.

This experience along with a 1997 World Championship followed by a Fire Sale from the Florida Marlins led him to Hibernation.

I never thought in my wildest imagination that a year later, he'd appear in Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, that he'd be wearing Tigers attire as Alan Trammell's replacement.

But indeed, he was Sporting the Olde English "D" and in the Detroit Dugout.

Here are the things that I never imagined when we were reunited in 2006 as we laughed together on how time did fly.

1) He'd finish his eight-year Tigers tenure with a 700-597 record from 2006-2013.
2) He ranks third on the Tigers All-Time List of Games Managed with 1,297.
3) Leyland's Tigers' teams finished above .500 in six of eight seasons at the helm.
4) Detroit surpassed the 3 Million mark in season attendance in franchise history all during Leyland's managerial career (2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013).
5) He is the third winningest manager in Tigers History.
6) He guided the Tigers to three straight American League Central Division Championships from 2011-2013.
7) He is the 26th manager in Tigers History.
8) He guided the Tigers to 700 wins, the third most in team history behind Sparky Anderson (1,331) and Hughie Jennings (1,131).
9) Leyland guided the Tigers to the post-season four times and was 3-0 against the New York Yankees.
10) Leyland led Detroit to two American League Pennants in 2006-2012 and two World Series Appearances.
11) The Tigers have only advanced to the playoffs one other time for three consecutive seasons and that was from 1907-1909 with Jennings as skipper. This century long drought ended so there is hope for the Chicago Cubs one day.
12. Leyland became the third Tigers manager to lead guide the club to the World Series multiple times joining Jennings and Cochrane.
13) After the Tigers season finale with the Miami Marlins, Detroit  had the second best record in inter league play by compiling a 93-53 mark. The Boston Red Sox are first with a 98-48 record and a .671 winning percentage.
14) The American League Champion Red Sox can thank Leyland for having home field advantage in the 2013 World Series with his victory in this summers All-Star Game.
15) Prior to Leyland's arrival, the Tigers had gone 12 seasons without a winning season. He finished under .500 once and in one season Detroit was 81-81.

Before Leyland took over in 2006, here were the Tigers Managers and records after Anderson retired in 1995:

*Buddy Bell 1996-1998 (184-277)
* Larry Parrish 1998-1999  (82-104)
* Phil Garner 2000-2002 (145-185)
*Luis Pujols 2002 (55-100)
*Alan Trammell 2003-2005 (186-300)

To summarize Leyland's career as a whole, one must look at the Big Picture.

1) He leaves the game ranked as the 15th All-Time leader in managerial wins with 1,769.
2) With the Pittsburgh Pirates, Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies and Tigers, he compiled a 1,769-1,728 mark.
3) Leyland is 14th All-Time in games managed with 3,499.
4) Leyland guided his teams to the playoffs eight times in 22 seasons and has a 44-40 mark in the playoffs.

Can you imagine how much higher these career numbers would have been if Leyland didn't take six years off from managing?

I can't!

There is no doubt that he's worthy of Hall of Fame Consideration!

Unfortunately, the lasting impression that most people will remember is the fact that the Tigers lost this years American League Championship Series to the Red Sox as Boston hit two grand slam home runs.

But in the playoffs, there are many big moments on the big stage.

He'll have to live with these moments in retirement but you can rest assure the Tigers organization and fans are celebrating his accomplishments as he revitalized a sleeping giant fan base which shows in the incredible attendance figures during his tenure as the Tigers skipper.

For me, it's been great working with Leyland in Spring Training and in the Regular Season. I look forward to going to Lakeland, Florida., with Leyland nearby along with good friends Tom Gage and Trainer Kevin Rand, who I'm photographed with.

What makes it even more interesting is I had the great pleasure of watching him manage his last game at Marlins Park even with a no-hitter being thrown against his ball club.

I'm glad that he's going to be working in the organization and hope down the line that the Tigers retire his number at Comerica Park with Trammell, Lou Whitaker and Jack Morris.

All of these are a major part of Tigers history.

Another reminder won't hurt to acknowledge the greatness that they've meant to this rich franchise tradition with Leyland being the latest.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com.

Monday, October 14, 2013

History At Old Orange Bowl Location

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

I've seen a lot of great football games featuring the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes, but in all of my years of covering baseball, this is the first no-hitter I've ever seen in person.

Of all places, it happened on the site of the Historic Orange Bowl Location.

On Sunday September 29, 2013, a crowd of 28,315 at Marlins Park saw Tigers Cy Young Award Winner Justin Verlander throw six scoreless innings.

He was relieved by Doug Fister in the seventh inning. Rick Porcello entered the game in the eighth, retired the side and had two strikeouts. He was relieved by Luke Putkonen in the ninth.

This was a tune-up for the Tigers as Detroit prepared for the playoffs.

The fans got more than they bargained for as the story in this game was Marlins right-handed pitcher Alvarez Henderson. He threw a 1-0 no-hitter against the Tigers and it was the fifth in Marlins history.

The winning run came on a bases loaded wild pitch by Putkonen that allowed Giancarlo Stanton to score from third base. Stanton originally reached base with a single.

Henderson had one walk, four strikeouts, hit Prince Fielder with a pitch then cruised to improve his record to 5-6. He threw 99 pitches and 66 were strikes.

The Marlins swept the Tigers as they improved to 62-100 while the Tigers dropped to 93-69.

It was a very unusual game in the sense that Alvarez was facing a pitcher that has two no-hitters himself speaking of Verlander.

The Tigers were resting most of their star players, but by no means am I taking anything away from the kid's accomplishment.

I didn't pay much attention to the pace of the game as I was working on a story and was dealing with technical issues getting online.

My photographer Candice Ebling sent me a text message that she was debating switching positions about the potential no-hitter, but opted to stay put by the Tigers Dugout.

That's when I started taking notice to what could be history.

Indeed that became the case.

Alvarez became the 282nd pitcher in MLB History to throw a no-hitter and he's likely to have some mementos sent to the Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

Alvarez, who was born on April 18, 1990, became the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the final game of the season since Mike Witt in 1984 when he did it for the California Angels.

When no-hitters are thrown, in many instances it's by a pitcher that we've never heard of.

Alvarez's career record is 15-23 with a 4.25 ERA and 176 strikeouts.

He was acquired by the Marlins along with six other players from the Toronto Blue Jays in a 12-player trade where five players went North of the Border. Three of the key players sent to Canada include Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle.

Since the Alvarez no-hitter, these words have become more common for the Detroit Tigers. In Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Oakland A's, Verlander went into the eighth inning with one.

In Game 1 of the American League Championship Series in Boston versus the Red Sox, Anibal Sanchez took to the Tigers into the sixth and the bullpen carried a no-hit bid into the ninth inning. The Tigers were two outs away from making history. Detroit won the game 1-0.

In Game 2 of the ALCS, Max Scherzer took a no-hitter in the sixth inning before it was broken up against the Red Sox. The Tigers bullpen imploded in a 6-5 loss to Boston.

Nonetheless, these masterpieces don't happen often and they do indeed sneak up.

What made Alvarez situation so unusual was that he was sitting in the on deck circle when the freak play occurred and the celebration was as different as it could be.

But only in baseball just when you think you've seen everything, something else dazzles in amazement.

Who knows what this kid will accomplish in his career, but on this one autumn afternoon in South Florida, he dominated the headlines all over the country before the playoffs.

He did it starting against one of the best pitchers in baseball, Justin Verlander and one of the best teams.

During this series, Miami couldn't have asked for a better result at the gate with the Tigers.

During the Friday Night September 27th, 3-2 win, 26,992 showed up as the capacity for Marlins Park was 72.1% full.

On Saturday Night September 28th this was another positive result at the gate as 28,750 (76.8%) saw the Marlins prevail in 10 innings 2-1.

But for those that saw this finale, this is a day that they'll be talking about for years knowing they saw a youngster make a name for himself.

It will be interesting to see what future final games of the year will be like for the Marlins.

Now the question remains, how long will Alvarez remain with the team?

If you're a Marlins fan, the way they have fire sales with star players which has outraged the fan base, I'd find it hard pressed to see them get excited.

But they cheer them when they come back. Just ask Miguel Cabrera.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com.

Tale of Two Football Programs

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

As I went to the sixth floor of the FAU Press Box, I ran into Owls Athletic Director Patrick Chun and we talked briefly about the switch to Conference USA.

Chun was pleased to make the move because FAU was hosting a new conference opponent. More importantly, he knew that by upgrading to a higher level conference, it would also draw larger crowds. It also enabled FAU to keep its rivalry with FIU intact.

This was definitely the case Saturday Evening as 19,760 showed up to see FAU's second conference opponent. The attendance was the second largest in the history of FAU Stadium.

This opponent has been playing football since 1895 and has an interesting tradition. Going into the 2013 season, Marshall's all-time record is 542-520-47 (.510).

The Marshall Thundering Herd has produced a lot of NFL Players. The three alumni which come to mind include QB's Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich and Wide Receiver Randy Moss. Each of these players appear heavily in the Marshall record book.

Moss should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame when he becomes eligible in five years.

These two schools have other things in common.

Marshall has appeared in five bowl games in Detroit. The Thundering Herd are 3-1 in the Motor City Bowl and 1-0 in the Little Ceasars Bowl. Marshall's record is 4-1 in Southeastern Michigan.

FAU won it's lone appearance in the Motor City Bowl in 2008 defeating Central Michigan and is 2-0 all-time in bowl games.

Going into the 2013 season, FAU is 58-74 participating in the Sun Belt Conference playing for their only two coaches Howard Schnellenberger and now Carl Pelini.

FAU began playing football in 2001 and the Owls winning percentage is .439.

To date, FAU's best players include Tennessee Titans QB Rusty Smith, the first Owl ever selected in the NFL Draft and Washington Redskins star Running Back Alfred Morris, who ran for 1,613 yards in his rookie season of 2012.

There is one thing these programs Fortunately Don't have in common.

On November 14, 1970 the Thundering Herd was devastated by a tragedy that eventually became a movie in 2006 called "We Are Marshall" which centered around the crash and rebirth of the program.

A total of 75 passengers, including 37 members of the football team were killed in a plane crash.

It took a full decade to recover from the crash and Marshall was the worst football program in the 1970's.

The Thundering Herd didn't have a winning season until 1984.

In the 1970's, Marshall was 23-83 from 1970-79, changing head coaches four times during that time frame.

If there is an interesting thing to watch with these mid-major schools is they do produce their fair share of players and many of them are the ones selected in the second and third days of the draft otherwise known as the "Hidden Gems" that win Super Bowls.

As for their first meeting, FAU held a 23-14 lead with 8:07 left in the fourth quarter, but the Thundering Herd came back to win 24-23 as Justin Haig connected on a 41-yard field goal as time expired.

The victory improved Marshall's record to 4-2, 2-0 while FAU dropped to 2-5, 1-4, in the Conference USA Eastern Division.

Detroit native Daniel McKinney, who is photographed, caught two passes for 11 yards.

This was the second heartbreaking loss this season at home for FAU and that aggravated Owls Coach Pelini.

"We can't play 9/10 of a game," Pelini said. "We have to play 10/10 of a game. I'm not going to pat anyone on the back after a loss."

FAU has a bye next week and don't expect Pelini to pat anyone on the back as the Owls travel to meet the Auburn Tigers on October 26 in Alabama. The only thing guaranteed is a large payday to deposit into the Athletic Department's bank account.

Up next for FAU at home is a visit from the Tulane Green Wave. I'll be curious to see the turnout on November 2, 2013.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com.


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