COLUMN

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.— No matter how many yards, touchdowns, and wins a mid-major school racks up over a season, critics will always look to games against teams in BCS conferences as a measure of how good a team really is.  That is not necessarily a true assessment of a team’s talent but it does make a statement to that catches the attention of the media, average fan and recruits.

So as we evaluate the progress Marshall’s football program has made over the last four years, let’s consider its performance against BCS opponents.  Marshall finished off the season with a 31-20 win over Maryland in the Military Bowl.  The Herd controlled the game throughout and trailed just once, briefly in the fourth quarter.  Marshall was in control throughout the game, even when Maryland drove 99 yards to take the lead.   There wasn’t any panic on the Marshall sidelines.

“We’re getting to the point now that we can line up and play against anybody,” believes Coach Doc Holliday.  “We’ve proven that this year.  Now, we didn’t win them all.  We lined up and played extremely well against Virginia Tech and probably had a shot at winning that game and didn’t get it done.”

It seemed inevitable that The Herd would break through the BCS boundary.  It had been so close on more than one occasion.

Rewind to the fourth week of the 2013 season.  Marshall had Virginia Tech on the ropes on a soggy day in Blacksburg.  The Herd led 21-7 in the second half and had a chance to win the game in overtime.  Last season, Marshall went on the road to West Lafayette and nearly came back from a 42-14 halftime deficit against Purdue.  Had it not been for a late first half meltdown that included a pair of interception returns for touchdowns, Marshall likely has a shot to win that game.

In the last two seasons Marshall has played four games against teams from the Big XII, Big Ten and ACC.  In those four games, The Herd averaged 478 yards of total offense, 354 passing yards per game and 125 yards rushing per game.  It was just a matter of Marshall putting together a complete game for it to clinch that win over a BCS school.

“To finally do it against a Maryland team that beat Virginia Tech and some other BCS schools, it was great to get that win,” said Holliday.

And the win came with everyone watching.  Marshall needed to excel against Maryland with a national television audience watching and dozens of prospects keeping a close eye to see if this was a program they want to be a part of.

“That game, we were the only show on.  Everybody had the opportunity to see it,” noted Holliday.  “We got a lot of messages and texts from recruits after that game.”

Marshall will likely have to prove its worth in a bowl game again next season.  Louisville had to make room on its schedule another conference game as it moves to the ACC and backed out of its scheduled visit to Huntington in 2014, moving it to 2015.  The only opportunity to play a team from one of the so-called power conferences would be in bowl game, possibly the Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. a Big Ten or Big XII team.

But Holliday is confident and more importantly his players are confident they can play with and beat anyone, anytime, anywhere.

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard that from the Marshall football program.

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Comments

  • ike

    Beat Alabama this year are you kidding me wow what a joke! Okay read all this about how wvu is so much better then Marshall but if that is so what was wvu doing in the toliet bowl this year. I watch both teams and root for both as they are from my state and this year I saw a joke of a team in Morgantown. They played like crap the whole year then got to watch Marshall beat a team that blanked them. How about wvu fans who think Marshall is a joke check the records from last year? Your whole argument is based on the seasons when wvu and Marshall played recently, okay Marshall was building. Now they have a QB who is better then any on wvu roster and a coach who can coach and recruit, Dana is a joke. So from now on when you start jaw jacking about how bad Marshall is look at your team in the mirror, don't see Marshall asking for the firing of their coach what two years into the contract. Be jealous of Doc I doubt he is taking a trip north for you all.

  • WVU79

    Marshall can play anyone on any given Saturday and have a chance too win. They cannot play a 11 or 12 games week in and week out though in big boy leagues. That takes depth. Marshall is just to small a program to create that kind of depth. Thats where WVU is lacking right now as well in the B12. But they have the program to get there, it takes money.

  • Greg

    Do these comment sections really add to the quality of the product Metronews is publishing?
    Do these thoughtful comments add to the story?

  • WVcoal

    Yes, they can beat most team on any given day. But, they also inexplicably lose games that they should not lose -- the one that really hurts and springs to mind immediately is the C-USA Championship game vs. Rice.

    • Aaron

      I thought the complete meltdown was a worse loss than the game against Rice. In the C-USA championship game the Herd was soundly whipped whereas they gave the Va Tech game away.

  • steve

    Whats life going to be like after Cato?

    • Jimbo

      Steve, life after Cato will be better than life after Geno...

      • Wvugrad2005

        You play nobody, you got beat by Middle Tennessee!

    • HerdOn

      Should be good with Blake Frohnapfel

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO5VrFH_snE

    • Brett

      They have another quarterback right behind him that is rather good. He will only have one year left.

  • rick

    We can play with anybody. We just can't beat anybody. Go Herd

    • Jason

      Anybody can beat anybody and nobody can always beat everybody.

  • steve

    Get it right Jon-12-0

  • Jon

    You have got to be kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Talk to me when you hae won 3 Major Bowls. You can harp all you want about this year but you can also look at 11-0 against Moo-Ville. Your a punchline Marshall.

    • Greg

      Still amazing to think how bad Maryland pummeled wvu. Man, wvu must really suck.

      • Hailey

        0-12, very sad

    • Greg

      Like Lou Holtz said, "If you are talking about what you did yesterday, you have done nothing today."

    • Jimbo

      It's "you're" not "your"

    • Bob

      It's you're a punchline Marshall. What is this Mooville and Moo U stuff?...Do you all know what a land grant institution is? Do you know what WVU's raison d'etre? Have you ever heard of a cow college? I love reading this stuff. WVU fans cannot even get the trash talking right. It is really not even fun anymore. Marshall was founded as normal school by the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is not and was not a cow college.

      • Aaron

        Are you aware of what land grant university is Bob and how many there are.

        You do realize that land grant universities were established to meet the needs of a growing nation in agriculture, science, engineering and military studies and include some of the most prestigious universities in the nation!!!

        • Herd98

          And WVU isnt one of them, prestigious that is.

  • Dennis

    What happened against Rice???

    • Greg

      We can play against anybody*

      *Excludes games in state of Texas

  • Drunken Dana

    Here is another fact Mauldawg: Maryland 37 WVU "0".

    • Troll

      Marshall Thundering Herd fan analogy:

      WVU beat Oklahoma State
      Oklahoma State beat Baylor
      Baylor beat Oklahoma
      Oklahoma beat Alabama

      Conclusion: WVU would have beat Alabama this year if they would have played.

      Guess you Herd fans think this is stupid right? We'll listen to yourself about your Maryland analogy!

    • Troll

      Here's another fact WVU series with Marshall:

      WVU 12 Marshall 0

      I'll take the facts you Marshall fans can take the " we could have" route.

    • Jimbo

      Kinda hard to whitewash 37-0. Maryland didn't have THAT many people hurt in the bowl game...

  • Brian

    Please MetroNews, do all of us Marshall fans a favor and stop covering us. You have been all wvu for years. The only people who read your garbage are wvu fans. Therefore when you try to write about Marshall the same idiotic fan base spouts their garbage. Go cover wvu and their mediocre program and we will get our news from sources who actually know that there are people in this state who support Marshall and not that school up north.

    • mauldawg

      How did you respond to this if you did not read it? You must be a MU grad.

    • Brett

      You can't let people like Mauldawg hold you down.

  • mauldawg

    Play with anyone!!! My goodness what a joke. I did make a mistake MU moved up to 93rd in SOS. Lets see
    Team record SOS
    Miami 0-12 111
    S Miss 1-11 118
    Fla In 1-11 115
    UAB 2-10 114
    Tulsa 3-9 89
    EC 10-3 106
    Fla Atl 6-6 108
    MTS 8-5 103
    Ohio U 7-6 120
    UTSA 7-5 85
    Rice 10-3 82
    MD 7-6 69
    VT 8-5 52

    MU can play with anybody!! Get real

    • Ms Horsewoman

      And your record was what, I would say the Who would come after Doc as a coach but no way they pay the ransom for him.

      You no longer have a Geno Smith, Tavon Austin or Stedman Bailey type players. You don't have any Jeff Hostedler or Major Harris's on your roster. You don't have any impact players.

      Do you know what all of those players have in common. They were all recruited by Doc Holliday. Who resides in Huntington and recruits for Marshall now.

      Have fun being 4-6, 5-5 or 5-6 for years to come. And just fighting to become bowl eligible and hoping to get the last B12 bowl spot. The Who as a program is below Iowa State in the B12.

    • Pc

      Muledork, don't worry about Doc and MU. Better use of your time and miniscule mental capacity would be to worry about how your EER(diots) can avoid being big time get well and feel good cannon fodder for the Crimson Tide In the 2014 season opener.

      • mauldawg

        At least we play football teams,more than can be said for MU and C-USA.

        • mike

          if you want an objective view that accounts for sos look at the computer rankings. My any objective measure Marshall is the superior team this year.

  • Brett

    Doc didn't say Marshall would run the table with anybody and win every game, just that that Marshall can play against anybody. UCF is a fine example of what he is talking about. The program is improving and Marshall can hold its own. They won't win them all, but they won't get plowed.

  • jj

    next year mu win be looking for a new head coach because doc will be hired at a sec school after going 14-0, while wvu will be raising ten million dollars to buy out dana`s contract after another losing season in the big 12

    • mineralcounty

      You're using sarcasm their aren't you?

  • steve

    You spent half of the 90's as D1AA school-come on man