MORGANTOWN - There is a common and rather repetitive theme that crops up every time Dana Holgorsen is asked about West Virginia's about-to-end football series with Marshall.
And since the WVU coach has been involved in only one of the six previous games between the teams, thankfully it has nothing to do with the same tired, old arguments elicited by either side for or against the matchup.
No, instead it's very straight and to the point and directly related to the competition on the field, which for a change is rather refreshing.
Well, it is unless you happen to be Holgorsen and you have to deal with it.
"I know that from watching all of Marshall's games from last year - and I've watched all of them over the course of the last week - they played considerably harder against West Virginia than they did against any other team out there,'' Holgorsen said. "So we're obviously expecting to get their best.''
Unsaid in there is the flip side, which is how hard West Virginia played against Marshall. Holgorsen won't address that this week, but he did on several occasions last season. Not only did Marshall play hard, the Herd played harder than West Virginia.
OK, so the 34-13 final score might not indicate that, but that's the way Holgorsen saw it. And he wasn't happy about it, either.
Which, of course, begs the question of why. And that leads to the obvious answer, too, which is that West Virginia is a bigger game for Marshall than the Marshall game is for West Virginia. Cut it up and dissect it any way you'd like, but it's not even worthy of debate.
For Marshall, a win over West Virginia would be talked about like - and for as long as - West Virginia's win over Penn State in 1988. For West Virginia, a win over Marshall is another win over Marshall.
And while Holgorsen refuses to go there specifically, he understands that as well as anyone. It's the basis for why Marshall, in his eyes, plays harder than West Virginia in this game. And he should know because he's seen it from both sides.