HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The bye week following Marshall’s final nonconference game of the season was sort of like hitting the reset button.
Marshall finished the nonleague portion of the schedule 2-2 and The Herd very well could have been 4-0. Players have now put the first third of the season behind them and have turned their full attention to Conference USA.
“This is the perfect timing. From here on out it’s all conference and all our goals are still out there,” said defensive lineman James Rouse.
Those goals are to run the table in C-USA, win a conference championship and play in a bowl game. All of which are still intact despite coming out of the nonconference schedule at .500.
“It’s back to 0-0 now,” safety D.J. Hunter put it.
The bye week came at the perfect time for a Marshall team banged up following the 29-21 loss to Virginia Tech. The time off gave Marshall a chance to heal, rest and devote extra preparation for this Saturday’s opponent, Texas-San Antonio.
“Guys that got banged up got time to rest and get healthy and the coaches have had a couple of weeks to game plan,” said center Chris Jasperse.
UTSA is the first game in the “second season” if you will. For mid-major teams the dream of playing in a BCS game or for a national title is little more than a fantasy. So, talk of championships center around conference titles and bowl victories. Both are well within The Herd’s reach this season. That’s why players have everything to play for over the next eight games.
“We still have an opportunity to be undefeated in the conference and these games are what matter when it comes to winning a championship,” said receiver Demetrius Evans.
He’s absolutely correct.
“We are still trying to stay focused on our goals because they’re still out there. We can still be conference champions. We can still play in a bowl game. We’re still just focused on one game at a time just trying to get wins,” said Darryl Roberts.
Marshall can take its first step toward that goal Saturday against the Roadrunners. However, if it takes coach Larry Coker’s squad too lightly it could also take a gigantic leap backward as well.