As they say, you remember November, right?
A few Marshall players missed last November's 65-59, double-overtime loss, such as Hoskins and defensive tackle James Rouse. They didn't feel the pain in quite the same way, but they could sense it all around them during offseason conditioning.
"I felt the pain, because I watched the game and everything but I'm sure they have a little more chip on their shoulder, because I haven't played [ECU] since my freshman year," said the oft-injured Rouse. "Everybody was really upset how it ended last year, and were focused on this year, starting a new phase, new approach."
Rouse and his fellow linemen face the challenge of pushing a Pirate offensive line that totals 132 career starts. Those linemen have largely done their job, allowing Vintavious Cooper to average nearly 5 yards per carry - thus keeping defenses from overemphasizing pass defense.
With an offensive line that has played the same five people much of this month, Marshall wants to do that with its trio of running backs. The Herd also wants to get off to a quick start, something it has done three of the last four games.
At other times, such as last week's game against Florida International, the start has been shaky. Last year's game at ECU was especially shaky as the Pirates took a 28-7 lead.
Cato and the Herd almost wiped out that lead at halftime, and eventually took the lead twice, the last with 1:55 left in the game. But Carden drove the Pirates downfield for the tying score, flirting with a fourth down in the process.
Whether the score is 65-59 or a more pedestrian 34-27 (the 2011 score), those quarterbacks will remain the focus.
"Both are really self-motivated kids," said ECU coach Ruffin McNeill. "They take a lot of pride in getting better each day and don't rely on what happened last week, or even within a game.
"My opinion, two of the best quarterbacks not just in the conference, but in the country will be on the field at 12 o'clock."
And their teams are two of the best in the conference, if not the best. Both will play in a bowl game, but the winner gets a chance at a C-USA championship next week.
Will it be Marshall for the first time, or ECU for the final time?
"It's always going to come down to who's got the most heart," said defensive end Alex Bazzie. "Most of the times ECU and Marshall play, that's what it comes down to."
Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.