GREENVILLE, N.C. -- The Marshall football team started the season giving up 69 points to West Virginia. It ended the season giving up 65 points to East Carolina.
Those totals - and all the totals in between that made the Thundering Herd the second-worst scoring defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision - led to the exit of defensive coordinator Chris Rippon.
Less than 24 hours after the Herd's season-ending 65-59 loss to the Pirates in double overtime, Rippon tendered his resignation, ending his three-season stint as the Herd's top man on defense. Marshall announced the move with a short news release on its website.
"I would like to thank Chris for all of his service to our program," Coach Doc Holliday said in the release. "We wish him and his family the best."
A search for his replacement is underway.
From Holliday's comments after Friday's game, where the Herd allowed ECU to convert a fourth-and-10 and send the game into overtime, change of some sort was coming to the defense.
"We have to get better on defense, that's just it," Holliday said. "We've got to start playing better defense around here to get where we've got to go."
Marshall averaged 43.08 points allowed in 12 games, which ranked the Herd 119th out of 120 FBS teams. Marshall also finished 101st in total defense (456.58 yards allowed per game) and 105th in rushing defense (203.08 yards allowed per game).
Those numbers helped waste an offense ranked first in the FBS in passing (365.08 yards per game), sixth in total offense (534.25 ypg) and ninth in scoring (40.92 points per game).
Marshall was the only team in the top 10 in scoring offense and total offense with a losing record. The Herd allowed seven opponents to score at least 40 points and five opponents to score at least 50 points.
In Rippon's three seasons as Marshall's defensive coordinator, the Herd never averaged fewer than 28 points allowed per game. Marshall gave up 28.75 points per game in 2010 and 28.62 points per game in 2011.
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BLAKE FROHNAPFEL threw just eight passes in 11 games before replacing an injured Rakeem Cato on Friday. You wouldn't have known it following his 12-of-15, 101-yard performance against the Pirates.
That performance didn't surprise Cato.
"One thing about 'Froh' is he works hard, to the max-out," Cato said. "He pushes me all day in practice, in the weight room, off the field, on the field. I have no concerns and no doubts about him getting in a game and taking over."
With about seven minutes left in the third quarter, Cato was dragged down from behind following a completion. He said he heard something crack in his left leg, and went to the sideline to be fitted with a knee brace and have his ankle taped.