HUNTINGTON — When Marshall's plane landed back in Huntington at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday morning, the Thundering Herd's 14-7 loss to No. 24 Boise State was a distant memory resting nearly 1,800 miles away.
Or at least, that is how it will be if head coach Doc Holliday has anything to do with it.
Holliday quickly said that there was no moral victory in how the Herd played. Instead, it's now a teaching tool to use in preparation for Saturday's 6:30 p.m. rivalry matchup with Ohio in the Battle for the Bell.
"We have to go back and get better as a team because we have a lot of great challenges ahead," Holliday said following Friday's loss.
Marshall (1-1) battled with the nationally-ranked Broncos throughout Friday's contest, but never could get traction offensively in the second half to make a push to tie the game.
One week after amassing 620 yards in a win over VMI, the Herd gained just 172 yards of total offense against Boise State - an area that will need to be addressed as preparation gets going for the Bobcats.
Following Friday's loss, Holliday noted that while the execution was not there, the effort was - an area he's hanging his hat on in moving the team forward into Ohio game week.
"These kids played hard," Holliday said. "They're a great group and I love what they are all about. We've just got to find a way to win that game at the end."
If there is an area in which Holliday can be pleased, it was how his defense played throughout the night. For a unit in their first road test against an FBS opponent - a quality one at that - the Herd bent, but didn't break on several occasions, finding ways to keep Boise State at bay for much of the game.
The Herd faltered on two drives - the final one of the first half and the start of the second half - which proved to be its undoing.
Still, linebacker Omari Cobb, who grabbed an interception off a deflection to stop one scoring opportunity for the Broncos, said he sees the gains on his side of the football.
"You know, I see the defense getting closer and coming together," Cobb said. "We've got a lot of young guys, different guys. We've just got to hone down on our assignments and keep doing it over the weeks."
Quarterback Isaiah Green, who struggled in the loss to Boise State, praised that defensive effort.
"Our defense played their butt off," Green said. "We've got to make more plays and pick them up because they held them to only two touchdowns. We've got to put more points up on our side of the ball."
Green also echoed Holliday's sentiment that, even though things didn't go right, there was no head-hanging or drop in demeanor from the Herd.
"We fought hard, which shows what type of team we have," Green said. "It shows that we don't have any quit in us and we're not going to give up on anything this season."
Like Marshall, Ohio is coming off a loss in which they struggled to get things going offensively. The Bobcats had just 35 yards rushing in a 20-10 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon.
The Bobcats are the preseason favorite to win the Mid-American Conference and, in terms of success, have been one of the Group of Five's most consistent teams under head coach Frank Solich.
With both teams coming in hungry after a loss and the hatred of a rivalry that dates back to 1905, it makes for an anticipated week in Huntington.
For Marshall to get back to its winning ways, Holliday knows that his team has to be locked in on the Bobcats.