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Herd says 'remember November'

Nov. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The month of November is certainly not one in which Marshall University's football team has gotten any time to sit on its laurels.

A disappointing road loss at Middle Tennessee to end October and a schedule that features five games in a span of 28 days forced the Thundering Herd into a scenario where it had to come together as a team quickly.

Former Marshall coach Bobby Pruett stopped by toward the end of head coach Doc Holliday's practices to speak to the team and the message rang true to the players.

"Like Coach Pruett said when he came and talked to us, you want to get remembered in November," Marshall wide receiver Tommy Shuler said. "We are 3-0 in November, so we are just trying to keep that up and get to a conference championship. That's our main goal -- a championship."

For Marshall, the 51-49 loss to Middle Tennessee on Oct. 24 knocked the team from the top rung of Conference USA's East Division and forced the Herd into a situation where it could not afford another slip-up. After consecutive convincing wins over Southern Miss and UAB at home, the Herd cleared what appeared to be a major obstacle last week by coming from behind to win at Tulsa, 45-34.

Marshall (7-3 overall, 5-1 conference) goes back on the road Saturday for a 6 p.m. game at FIU (1-9, 1-5) that will be televised by Fox College Sports on Comcast Huntington Ch. 726. The Herd is looking to build momentum heading into next week's showdown with East Carolina that will likely decide the East Division winner.

Shuler said the team is hitting its stride, thanks to the continuity of the schedule.

"Once you are playing a game every week, you are focused and the game gets easier because you're watching film and you don't have to take a break," he said. "Your body gets used to getting up every day ready to work."

Statistics back Shuler's statement as the Herd has consistently produced offensively each time they've taken the field.

Marshall eclipsed the 600-yard mark in each of the last three games while scoring 54 points per game. Even in last week's win, the Herd managed to produce 45 points despite turning the football over five times.

Holliday said it is crucial this week that Marshall plays its best football game -- not just because it's needed to stay on a path to the C-USA championship, but because progression is expected through the end of the year.

"When November starts, there are teams that go in different directions," Holliday said. "That's when you've got teams -- I won't use examples, but you know who they are -- that tailor off and they aren't near as good a football team in November as they are in September. That's because they don't continue to get better.

"The good football teams at the end of the day that win championships, play for championships or get where they want to go, they improve every week. That's been our goal from day one."

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