HUNTINGTON - It was not a dark and stormy night when Marshall played Ohio last September in Peden Stadium.
The host Ohio Bobcats came out in black uniforms and proceeded to turn out the lights on the Thundering Herd, forcing six first-half turnovers in a shocking 44-7 rout. At the merciful conclusion of the "Battle for the Bell," the Bobcats sprinted to the prize and rang it with gusto.
The Herd's short bus ride to Athens was much longer coming home.
"It was quiet," recalled defensive end Jeremiah Taylor. "It was dark, and it burned into our minds."
And hasn't stopped burning. True freshman offensive lineman Cam Dees can sense it.
"They're fired up," Dees said. "I wasn't here to experience the loss, but I can just feel how upset they are and how ready they are to go get after it on Saturday. They were talking about this game in the summer."
"It's a lot of anger, frustration about what happened last year," said receiver Aaron Dobson. "The game definitely got out of hand. They just beat us, physically, everything on both the offensive side of the ball and defense."
Dobson barely remembered that he had a 45-yard touchdown catch from then-freshman Rakeem Cato to tie the game at 7. He just remembers his team did little right after that.
The Bobcats rolled up 559 total yards. Ryan Boykins ran for 122 yards in the second half, effectively chewing up clock and preserving the 34-7 first-half lead.
Oh, yeah, that first half. Cato threw three interceptions in the first quarter, and his teammates lost two fumbles in the second, gaffes that lead to 24 Ohio points.
In his third collegiate game, Cato received another tough lesson about college football. "That was one of my worst games I've ever played, little league, high school, college level, one of my worst games," he said.
Marshall's shot at redemption comes at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, in a non-televised contest. The game falls exactly 52 weeks after the 44-7 loss, and the Bobcats thus far are fulfilling their role as favorites in the Mid-American Conference.