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Big lift for MU on bye week

Oct. 15, 2013 @ 12:01 AM

HUNTINGTON -- As Marshall University begins its second bye week of the football season, the mindset is completely different than that of the team's last bye week that came after back-to-back disappointments at Ohio and Virginia Tech.

Unlike those road games, Marshall found a way to get it done late Saturday at Florida Atlantic, using Justin Haig's 41-yard field goal as time expired to earn a 24-23 win over the Owls.

Now, the program has a revamped energy with 12 days to prepare for Middle Tennessee on Oct. 24.

"Even going into workouts (Sunday) felt better," Marshall defensive end Alex Bazzie said. "After that loss against Virginia Tech, we were in there, but we were like 'Where's our energy to even lift this weight?' We felt down and beat.

"After a win, although it was a scary one, to come in and lift weights, it was the last thing we were worrying about because we were so happy. You tell us what to do and we're doing it."

Marshall offensive lineman Clint Van Horn seconded Bazzie's claim about Sunday's workout being a bit different this time around.

"Everybody had juice in their lift," Van Horn said. "That was one of the most amped-up lifts I've ever been a part of, honestly. You can tell this week, we'll have more juice and confidence this week in practice, especially knowing the rest of our games are in conference. We have a lot to build off of and a lot to learn from as well."

Marshall's record is 4-2 for the season and the Thundering Herd is 2-0 in Conference USA.

It appeared as though Marshall would be heading into another bye week licking its wounds until a final drive that got the Herd into position for Haig's kick.

FAU had executed its gameplan a bit better through three-and-a-half quarters and led 23-14 with just 10 minutes remaining.

That's when Marshall dug down and got a pair of long scoring drives -- an 88-yard drive capped by Gator Hoskins' 41-yard touchdown catch to bring the Herd within two before a defensive stop late allowed the Herd one last possession, which the Herd cashed in on with the game-winning field goal.

Bazzie said Saturday's last three minutes were the perfect example of how Marshall has come together as a team.

"The defense did its job to get the offense back out, the offense had confidence to drive the field and get the special teams out there and the special teams had the confidence to seal the deal," he said. "It was a team effort that last three minutes. There's adversity during a game, but it was a good thing to know we could all overcome it when it counted."

The team had Monday off and will once again rest their bodies Tuesday before getting back to work Wednesday.

Because of the Middle Tennessee game being a Thursday night affair it makes this week a bit of an abbreviated bye, but the Herd is planning on making the most of its time before heading to Murfreesboro, Tenn., for another pivotal C-USA USA East division showdown.

Middle Tennessee lost Saturday at North Texas, 34-7, and has a 3-4 season record and 1-2 conference mark. The Blue Raiders are also idle this weekend.

"We're anxious now to get to practice and start working on the next team and our next goals," Bazzie said. "Just seeing that urgency around here is a good feeling. With this being a bye week and that great feeling, you don't want to get too far ahead of yourself.

"You want to prepare the best way possible to get another win and have that great feeling again."

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