ATHENS, Ohio - Every so often, Doc Holliday has his wishes granted.
"To be honest with you, I'm anxious to get on our bus and go play somewhere else," said the fourth-year Marshall coach, "and see how far this team has come, how much they have developed."
Yes, that will happen. Today, the Thundering Herd will get on the bus and go to Ohio. Next week, another bus trip to Virginia Tech. After a week off and then a single home game, the Herd travels to Florida Atlantic and to Middle Tennessee.
Four road trips in five games over the next seven weeks. Yeah, the coach will see how well his troops function away from Huntington.
Of those four away games, tonight's bout in Peden Stadium could carry the craziest atmosphere - yes, more so than at the always-loud Lane Stadium at Virginia Tech.
The Bobcats are drawing full houses these days, even without a lot of visiting fans. There will be plenty of visitors tonight, as re-energized Herd fans rediscover the roads to Athens.
Game time is 8 p.m., set for an ESPNews telecast - plenty of time for students to do whatever they do at one of America's top-rated party schools.
Marshall (2-0) is itching for two years worth of payback. Ohio (1-1) loves to beat its former Mid-American Conference brethren. Winner rings "The Bell."
Ladies and gentlemen, it is on.
"These guys, from the time the whistle blows until the game is over, they're going to fight you," said of the Bobcats. "They're going to play extremely hard and they're going to play extremely tough and the game's never over until it's over with these guys, because they know how to win. If you don't match their intensity, then you've got no chance.
"I think it's going to be a great atmosphere, 8 o'clock at night and the stadium filled up."
With a veteran quarterback, veteran running backs and toughness all around, the Bobcats are going to test every aspect of Marshall's game, especially those areas the Herd feels it has made the most progress.
Defense comes to immediate mind, front to back.
The Herd has gone six quarters without giving up a point, a prospect unthinkable a year ago, even against outmanned offenses such as Gardner-Webb.
Ohio's line is missing two veteran guards, but Marshall is missing defensive tackle Brandon Sparrow. And the Bobcats surely aren't missing their crafty quarterback, Tyler Tettleton, or running backs Beau Blankenship and Ryan Boykin. The physical backs have split the carries at 26 apiece, with Boykin having a 132-105 edge in yardage.