CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- WELL, MARSHALL beat somebody better than Miami (Ohio) and Florida International. Beat 'em down and kicked 'em some more.
A few days after watching the Thundering Herd's 59-28 keelhauling of East Carolina, I still don't believe what I've seen. This was a very good Pirate team and Marshall treated it like ...
FIU. Or Southern Mississippi. Or the folks from Birmingham.
(How 'bout Southern Miss dropping 62 on 'Bama-B in Legion Field? That's how you bust a 23-game skid, folks.)
This had a similar, strange feeling to the other time the Herd smothered ECU at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, when an undermanned defense held Skip Holtz's Pirates to seven points. As the score headed toward 26-7, the pundits kept wondering, "When are these guys going to make a run?"
They never did. The same thing happened Friday, except the score was bigger and so were the stakes.
Think about it: ECU lost to Virginia Tech 15-10. Smoked North Carolina 55-31. Led North Carolina State 35-7 after three quarters.
No, that's not national championship-caliber competition, but they are three Atlantic Coast Conference schools. ECU beat two of them badly.
I didn't expect the Pirates to roll into Joan C. Edwards Stadium and do that to Marshall, but I thought they had a few more weapons to endure another typical Herd-ECU game.
I was woefully mistaken, and it was a sight to see how much.
Marshall has two games remaining, thanks to that performance. After the Herd gets a chance to beat another nine-win team, it then will try to prove it can beat a team from a "Power 5" conference.
The bowl game will give the Herd a shot at Mississippi or an ACC team to be named. Ole Miss seems to be a near-lock to go to the Liberty Bowl. Otherwise, the Herd likely goes to the Military Bowl in Annapolis to play Syracuse, Georgia Tech or whoever.
Not sure about you, but I'd prefer a New Year's Eve game in Memphis, and I think Herd fans are thinking the same way - at least those who went there for the Conference USA basketball tournament in 2012.
One conventional theory has Marshall going to Annapolis if it doesn't win the conference championship and get invited to the Liberty Bowl. Another scenario has popped up: Marshall to Memphis and Rice to the Heart of Dallas Bowl, no matter what happens on Saturday.
Not sure if that will be the case next Sunday night, when the BCS games are ironed out and the bowl pins fall one by one. But wouldn't it be sweet for Marshall to get C-USA's last Liberty Bowl hurrah?
This is what should happen in year No. 4 after a coaching change. The construction of this team under coach Doc Holliday has been interesting.
Of those regulars who played in the Herd win over ECU:
That did not include defensive end Alex Bazzie or 1,000-yard rusher Essray Taliaferro, who walked on.
I'm omitting running back Kevin Grooms, whose indefinite suspension probably should be made permanent after his latest brush with the law. Grooms did not play against ECU.