HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—There was a common theme from Thundering Herd players Monday afternoon as they visited with media.
They don’t care.
Herd fans were dismayed Sunday night when Conference USA officials announced Rice would host Saturday’s conference title game thanks to a convoluted formula the conference used as a tiebreaker. However, it seems fans, which were hoping for another game at The Joan, took the news harder than the players.
“We found out at 8:30 and by 8:31 I’d moved on,” said quarterback Rakeem Cato. “Doc Holliday preached to us that no matter where the game is going to hosted at we have to play our best football.”
As fans debated the validity of the formula, the players were more focused on the task facing them on Saturday, a good Rice team that also has won nine games this year and went 7-1 in C-USA.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this moment,” continued Cato. “Right now the moment is here and we’ve got to get the job done.”
That’s not to say The Herd wouldn’t have enjoyed lining up one more on the turf at Joan C. Edward Stadium. For seniors such as Garrett Scott, last Friday’s game was the last one he’ll ever play in front of the home fans and admits it would have been fun to do it again with a conference title on the line. But knows the championship is still out there.
“It doesn’t matter where we play,” said Scott. “It would have been exciting to play here but it doesn’t matter.”
For a program that has not tasted conference championship since it joined Conference USA, the opportunity to bring the first ever C-USA football championship to Huntington is more important that where the game is being played.
“I’m just glad we’re playing another game, a championship game, it doesn’t matter where we play it at to tell you the truth,” said Tommy Shuler. “We just have to go out there and take care of business.”
Taking care of business is exactly what Marshall has done the final five weeks of the season. Even though its road woes have been well documented, The Herd feels it is ready to conquer those demons whether it is in Houston, Huntington or dusty patch of dirt in south Texas.
“We’re going to be ready to play. We could play in a parking lot and we’d be ready to play,” said Gator Hoskins.