HUNTINGTON — When asking players this week if they had ever been to Idaho, a resounding 'no' was the response at player interviews.
The same cannot be said for three members of Marshall's football staff.
For Marshall director of football operations Mark Gale, offensive line coach Greg Adkins and defensive coordinator Brad Lambert, their lone trip to Albertsons Stadium was one that was memorable for all thle wrong reasons.
In the teams' only prior meeting to Friday night's contest, Boise State upended Marshall, 28-24, in the Division I-AA semifinals on a snowy Dec. 10 afternoon in Boise, Idaho.
It's still a game that Gale — then the Herd defensive line coach — bristles when speaking on.
"I was out there in February and it started bringing back a flood of memories," Gale said. "The thing is, we had a good run. We played for the national championship in 1991, 92, 93, 95 and 96, but that was our hiccup. It was a good football game. You come up short and it's a play here on offense and two plays on special teams and a play here on defense and who knows?"
Marshall led 24-7 in the second half when Boise State quarterback Tony Hilde went out with a shoulder injury, which all involved thought had ended the contest. However, Boise State's defense blanked the Herd in the second half and a busted coverage in the secondary led to a go-ahead touchdown that gave the Broncos a 28-24 win, sending the Broncos to the I-AA National Championship game, which was hosted by Marshall University at Joan C. Edwards Stadium (then Marshall Stadium).
"At times, I recall 1994 - coming up short and not being able to play for the national championship on our home field," Gale said. "I kept as far away as possible that following week. No disrespect to Youngstown State or Boise State that day, but we weren't in it and that was a tough pill to swallow."
One of the craziest aspects of the contest is that it was played in Boise, Idaho, to begin with.
At the time, I-AA playoff games went out for bid, so whoever bid the highest got to host, regardless of seed. That's how the third-ranked Broncos hosted the second-ranked Herd on that day.
Both Lambert and Adkins said that they remember the atmosphere - a raucous crowd on a day in which snow was piled along the walls of Albertsons Stadium after a major snowstorm had come through.
"What I do remember is we went out there in a hostile environment against a good football team," Adkins said. "We had a damn good football team at that time, too."
"We went out there in 1994 and two really good teams went at it then," Lambert said. "Now, we've got to go out there and watch these two good teams go after it again."
The following week after that 1994 matchup, Boise State lost in the I-AA National Championship to Youngstown State, 28-14, in Huntington.
However, that win punctuated one of the Broncos' best turnarounds in program history - from 3-8 in 1993 to 13-2 in 1994.
Boise State hasn't looked back since, only suffering losing seasons in their first two years at the FBS level (1996, 1997) before becoming one of the country's more successful programs over the past two decades.
Boise State makes its second-ever trip to Huntington - the first to play Marshall, however - on Sept. 26, 2020.
HONORING YULEE: Marshall defensive end Darius Hodge, who normally wears No. 44, donned the No. 2 jersey of fallen teammate Jaquan Yulee on Friday night.
Yulee was lost for the season in the opener against VMI when he broke his neck during a late first-quarter pass breakup. Yulee had surgery on Sunday, but returned to greet his teammates at practice on Monday afternoon after being released from the hospital.
DRAYTON IN, OBIALO OUT: Marshall safety Brandon Drayton, who missed most of camp and the first game against VMI with an undisclosed injury, made the trip to Boise, Idaho, and was in uniform for the Herd.
Marshall senior wide receiver Obi Obialo missed his second straight contest with an undisclosed foot injury. Obialo, who was in a walking boot during the game against VMI, did not make the trip.
A NIGHT OF FIRSTS: There were plenty of firsts on Friday night at Albertsons Stadium.
The obvious was that it was Marshall's first road game of the season, as well as Boise State's first home game.
However, the game was also the first on the newly-installed blue turf at Albertsons Stadium, as well.
Marshall also was wearing their all-white jerseys - nicknamed the "Thunder Storm Troopers" jerseys. These jerseys replaced the previous road version, which had black shoulder caps and piping.