HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- This week's Marshall at Tulsa game was supposed to be a thriller, one Fox Sports 1 insisted on moving to Thursday night.
The Thundering Herd was expected to be keeping pace with Conference USA East Division favorite East Carolina. Tulsa was a near-lock to capture the West Division.
Marshall (6-3, 4-1) held up its end of the deal. Tulsa (1-4 C-USA) enters the 7:30 p.m. game at 2-7.
Not 7-2, 2-7. Out of the West race, out of the bowl picture, relegated to a spoiler role.
So why, oh why have the 2005 and 2012 Conference USA champions fallen so hard?
A recap of the seven losses:
Bowling Green 34, Tulsa 7: The Hurricane was held to 273 total yards, the lowest in four years (then by slightly more powerful Oklahoma). Strong safety Demarco Nelson, a preseason all-conference pick, was ruled academically ineligible before the game and Tulsa lost both starting defensive ends during the game.
Oklahoma 51, Tulsa 20: Not an unexpected result, but the Sooners piled up 609 total yards.
Iowa State 38, Tulsa 21: At Tulsa's H.A. Chapman Stadium, the Cyclones scored 24 unanswered points to erase a 14-7 deficit. Four turnovers didn't help.
Rice 30, Tulsa 27 (OT): The Hurricane gave up a 25-yard pass from Taylor McHargue in the extra period to lose to the Owls for the first time since 2006.
Tulane 14, Tulsa 7: Dane Evans made his first start at quarterback in place of Cody Green, the Nebraska transfer expected to have a big senior season. Evans went 13 of 30 with three interceptions, one deep in Green Wave territory.
Texas-San Antonio 34, Tulsa 15: Oh, where to start? First, the Roadrunners drive 60 yards in three plays, then score again on the recovery on Trey Watts' muffed punt into the end zone.
East Carolina 58, Tulsa 24: The school's official web site, in the spirit of positivity, declares that "Hurricane rushed for 100 more yards than Pirate opponents had averaged in the first eight games."
The headline bypasses ECU quarterback Shane Carden's five passing touchdowns and two by rush. Even worse: On the game's final play, third-string QB Joseph Calcagni threw a pick at the goal line, which ECU's DaShaun Amos returned 100 yards.
Injuries and other losses have contributed mightily. DeMarco is far from the only season-ending casualty.
And he wasn't the first - starting cornerback Darrell Williams tore his anterior cruciate ligament during preseason camp. Receiver Keyarris Garrett, the leading pass-catcher from 2011, fractured his lower leg against Colorado State. Tight end Garrett McGrady broke his femur against Rice.