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FLORIDA ATLANTIC 30, MARSHALL 25

November 6, 2017 GMT

Struggling Litton shoulders the blame

BOCA RATON, Fla. — As Marshall University quarterback Chase Litton spoke to media Friday following Florida Atlantic’s 30-25 football defeat of the Thundering Herd, there were times he’d look overtop the reporters.

It was as though he was thinking back to each interception, replaying them in his mind.

Litton threw a career-high four interceptions against a defense that thrives on turnovers to succeed. Florida Atlantic is now tied for the No. 1 spot in the Football Bowl Subdivision in interceptions, averaging 2.0 per game.

Litton’s last is likely the one that hurt him and the Herd most.

Despite the early struggles, Litton led Marshall (6-3, 3-2 Conference USA) down the field for a touchdown in a driving rain shower — a 15-yard connection with Ryan Yurachek on fourth-and-10 — that pulled the Herd within 30-23. The Marshall defense then gave the offense a chance after getting a stop with just more than three minutes left.

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Facing third-and-6, Litton threw a pass up the sideline hoping a

receiver would make a play. Florida Atlantic’s Jalen Young camped under the football and secured his third interception of Litton in the contest.

Following the throw, Litton was visibly frustrated.

“It’s my fault,” Litton said. “It’s no one else’s fault on the offense. It’s no one else’s fault on the defense, special teams or the team. It’s my fault. I didn’t do my job. My job is to win games. I didn’t win the game.”

To Litton’s credit, he didn’t shy away from responsibility.

The junior quarterback shouldered the blame for the loss and put it directly on himself.

“Bad quarterback play lost us this game,” he said.

Statistics speak volumes for the Herd and Litton, in this case. During the Herd’s five-game winning streak, Litton threw just one interception — that coming in the first game of the streak against Kent State. For the next four games, Litton didn’t try to force things, instead taking what the defense was giving him and he went interception-free. The end result was four wins that came by an average margin of nearly 22 points per game.

In the last two games, Litton has seven turnovers — six interceptions and a fumble — and the result has been a pair of losses in which the opposition has scored 33 points off turnovers.

“We didn’t take care of the ball very well,” Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said. “We’ve moved the ball well offensively, but we just didn’t take care of it.”

For Litton, the negatives will outweigh all from this game, but there were some elite-level throws made by him during this game as well.

There was a fourth-down conversion in the third quarter when Litton threw a touch pass off his back foot while rolling right away from pressure that Marcel Williams was able to run under for a first down that led to a game-tying touchdown.

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There was also the pass to Yurachek on which Litton rolled left and still squared his shoulders and fired to the only place the receiver could make a sliding catch for a score in the fourth quarter with rain coming down.

The flashes of brilliance are there — but, right now, so are the mistakes. In his third year, Litton knows well the hazards of being a quarterback at this level. The quarterback position is a polarizing one. If you perform well, you are revered and put on a pedestal. If you falter, you are the first to be scrutinized.

Neither is really good for quarterbacks, who desire to maintain an even keel.

Litton was able to do that during the Herd’s success earlier this year, and he’ll have to do it again while battling his own personal struggles.

Williams said its on the team to help him.

“We’re here for him,” Williams said. “Just tell him one play at a time. Don’t look behind you. You know what I’m saying? Just make sure you’ve got your eyes forward in the next play.”

As Litton and the Herd move forward, they head home looking to end the two-game skid against Western Kentucky (5-4, 3-2 C-USA) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

NEXT GAME

WESTERN KENTUCKY (5-4, 3-2 C-USA) at MARSHALL (6-3, 3-2 C-USA)

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Joan C. Edwards Stadium

TV: beIN Sports

Radio: WDGG 93.7-FM,

ESPN 94.1-FM and 930- AM, WMUL 88.1-FM

Tickets: HerdZone.com

Neither is really good for quarterbacks, who desire to maintain an even keel.

Litton was able to do that during the Herd’s success earlier this year, and he’ll have to do it again while battling his own personal struggles.

Williams said its on the team to help him.

“We’re here for him,” Williams said. “Just tell him one play at a time. Don’t look behind you. You know what I’m saying? Just make sure you’ve got your eyes forward in the next play.”

As Litton and the Herd move forward, they head home looking to end the two-game skid against Western Kentucky (5-4, 3-2 C-USA) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Joan C. Edwards Stadium.