A look around the MAC

Marshall could finish its non-league slate at 0-3, but still remains the favorite to win the MAC.

Originally Published: September 15, 2004
By Adam Rittenberg | Special to
How to handle moral victories is not a course Marshall coach Bob Pruett is accustomed to teaching. After all, half of Pruett's current squad weren't even born in 1983, the last time the Thundering Herd started a season 0-2.

Marshall is in unfamiliar territory, but as players left Columbus last Saturday, they took a renewed respect home with them. The Herd bounced back from an unnerving loss to Troy and tested the cunning of college football's Harry Houdinis.

Last Saturday's game reinforced Marshall's reputation as a team no BCS program wants to play. Just ask the droves of Ohio State students who stormed the field following Mike Nugent's game-winning 55-yard field goal.

"That tells you that they respect us," Marshall defensive end Jonathan Goddard told the Huntington Herald Dispatch. "We came out here and got their respect. We probably didn't do it at first, but we came out and showed them that we can play with anybody in the nation."

Marshall, which became Division I-A in 1997, continues its tour of the top-10 with a date Saturday at No. 3 Georgia. The Herd's formidable schedule is part of a philosophy to attract elite programs to Huntington. After beating several middle-of-the-pack BCS schools, Marshall decided to heighten its risk with scheduling.