HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Admittedly, I've got a weak stomach.
By now you might've heard of or seen the gruesome leg injury that South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore suffered Saturday. Yours truly winced and squirmed when Lattimore's kneecap pointed in the opposite direction of his toes.
Someone could've warned me before that image was burned in my brain. As much as I covet your readership, Marshall football fans might find the contents of this column not suitable for the squeamish.
Proceed if you wish.
Saturday night's Marshall-UCF game - the final football meeting in a lopsided eight-game series as Conference USA adversaries - was an opportunity for the Herd to make a statement in the league.
Marshall had only wins over a FCS doormat Western Carolina (winless since the Sept. 8 trip to Huntington), Rice (winless in C-USA until trouncing winless Southern Mississippi on Saturday) and 0-8 Southern Miss.
The scenario set up like this: A loss to the Knights would leave the Herd clawing for bowl eligibility deep into November again, but a win would give Marshall control of the East Division entering the final month of the regular season.
The result ended up like this: The Herd was handed its worst defeat in the 22-year history of Edwards Stadium. It was the fifth time in eight games this season that Marshall (3-5, 2-2) allowed 50-plus points - a first in the program's history - and there's still four regular season games left.
Marshall led for a measly 13 seconds even though it held a plus-three advantage in turnover margin.
The 568 yards gained by UCF is the eighth-most by a Herd opponent since 2000, but the sixth 500-yard game by an opposing offense in the last two seasons.
It was the Herd's third consecutive loss in once friendly confines that aren't so kind to the home football program anymore.
Marshall has dropped three straight at home.
"That's embarrassing," sophomore quarterback Rakeem Cato said of his team's 54-17 loss to UCF. "Point blank, that's embarrassing."
Linebacker Billy Mitchell didn't mince words, either. He acknowledged the opportunity that slipped through the team's fingers, much like the plethora of dropped passes Saturday night.
"We came into this game with the thought that this was our championship game," he said. "That if we can beat UCF we control our destiny and can play for the championship.
"It's a little harder to get to the top now."