HUNTINGTON — Two off weeks ultimately equated to a wash for Marshall’s football team in the national standings.
Marshall found itself back in the top-15 in both major polls on Sunday, gaining two spots in the Associated Press Poll while rising one in the Amway Coaches Poll.
The top eight teams in the Associated Press poll remained unchanged with Alabama taking the top spot, followed by Notre Dame, Ohio State and Clemson.
Of interest to Marshall, Cincinnati came in at No. 7 as the highest-ranked Group of Five school, followed by Coastal Carolina, who is just ahead of the Herd at No. 14.
The Herd’s return to the top-15 matches its highest ranking of the season, set following its last contest against Middle Tennessee on Nov. 14 when it tied with Coastal Carolina.
Since that time, however, Marshall had its game with Charlotte postponed on Nov. 21 due to COVID-19 related issues within the 49ers program.
Marshall had a pseudo-scheduled off week for Nov. 28 — that coming courtesy of Old Dominion’s preseason decision to not play football.
The Herd did not add a game last week, instead opting to get prepared for the final two games of the Conference USA season.
Marshall returns to game week in preparation for Rice at noon on Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
This week’s game is another of Marshall’s schedule changes from the original plan for the season. The Herd was scheduled to host the Owls on Oct. 3, but the game was pushed to Dec. 5 after Rice did not start football practice until mid-September due to COVID-19 concerns.
With Marshall at 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Conference USA, the Herd could go a long way toward shoring up the East Division title if the team defeats Rice on Saturday.
As the schedule stands now, Marshall is the lone undefeated team within Conference USA, meaning the Herd is also in position to host the Conference USA Championship at 7 p.m. on Dec. 18.