Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Herd vs. The Lone Star State

            It is well documented that the Herd does not have much success in the state of Texas to the tune of 0-8. This fact has not helped the Herd in Conference USA, which features 4 teams from the Lone Star State. 7 of the Herds 8 losses in Texas have come at the hands of Houston, Rice, SMU and UTEP in conference play. Though none of these schools are in the same division as the Herd, their inability to defeat the western division has  been a contributing factor to the Herd never truly competing for a conference championship since joining the league in 2005.


            The 8th loss in the state of Texas came in the 2004 Ft. Worth bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats. This was the first game played by Marshall in Texas, more specifically at Texas Christian University, and is now seen as the bitter farewell of Head Coach Bobby Pruitt, who would resign unexpectedly the following spring.

            The bright side of this troubling statistic is that the record is reversed when Texas schools travel to Huntington. The Herd is 8-0 at home against schools from Texas, starting with a non-conference win over North Texas in 1988 (when the Herd was still a 1-AA school) and victories over Houston once and Rice, SMU and UTEP twice. The Houston game in particular, played in 2008, was of note because at the time Houston, as it was for many years, was the odds-on favorite to win the C-USA West division. Thanks to a huge effort from the defense, the Herd sent the Cougars home with a 37-23 loss, made even more remarkable when considering the Herd had lost three straight games proceeding Houston and lost the remaining four of the season.
            This season the Thundering Herd will only play once in Texas when they travel to Rice this weekend. They will also only play one Texas school at home when they host the Houston Cougars on November 17th.  Will the peculiar relationship between the Herd and the Lone Star State continue? Only time will tell.

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