"When you look at us and the aspirations, you can say that every game from here on out is a playoff game, to get where we need to get," said MU safety Dominick LeGrande. "Sorry, but losing can't be an option for us."
The most compelling matchup is Marshall's line-'em-and-snap offense against C-USA's top defense, one that grudgingly yielded 31 points to Ohio State, 21 to Missouri and 24 in regulation to Southern Mississippi. The Knights again have a few pro prospects, this time in defensive end Troy Davis, cornerback A.J. Bouye and safety Kemal Ishmael.
Can they slow down a Marshall team that is averaging 568 total yards on 91 snaps? The tale of the tape gets more stunning by the week - the still-undefeated Ohio Bobcats are the only team that has held the Herd under 30 points and 500 yards.
The biggest question mark, as it is every week in Huntington, is the Marshall defense. The Herd departed from its previously porous ways last week at Southern Miss, dominating the line of scrimmage and frustrating two young quarterbacks along the way.
But UCF quarterback Blake Bortles has proved wise beyond his sophomore classification, and Latavius Murray has returned to full strength, as evidenced by his 192 yards last Saturday against Memphis. If Murray and the Knights continue that trend against the 111th-ranked rushing defense in the FBS, the Herd offense will have to score big to keep up.
But this series hasn't always followed such neat scripts. Odds are something crazy will happen - a rash of turnovers, a blocked punt, multiple skirmishes, you name it.
The Herd wants to write one script change in the 11th and final game of this little rivalry - it wants to end that seven-game losing streak and give UCF a parting "gift." Expect an emotional effort from the men in green.
"Yeah, it's going to be one of those backyard brawl-type situations," said Herd defensive end Alex Bazzie. "It's going to be a fight, you know. You have to stay disciplined, you have to stay tough, and last man standing's going to win."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.