HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Whenever the Marshall football team prepares to play a team in Texas, the players know the question that's coming. They've heard it before. It's not their favorite, but it's one they must endure.
Why can't the Thundering Herd win in that state?
"I don't hate it," defensive end Jeremiah Taylor said about the question with a forgiving smile, "but it gets tiring."
The Herd is winless in eight tries in Texas. It doesn't subscribe to curses or hexes in attempting to explain the slump, but the players are determined to snap the streak.
Their next chance comes Saturday at Rice. Kickoff is 3:30 p.m. and the Herd's Conference USA opener will be broadcast on CSS and WCHS.
Marshall's Lone Star State losing streak began in 2004, when the Herd lost the Fort Worth Bowl, 32-14, to Cincinnati. Since then, Marshall's dropped games to UTEP in 2005 and 2009, Southern Methodist in 2006 and 2010, Houston in 2007 and 2011 and Rice in 2008.
Sometimes the Herd has been close, like its 35-28 loss to Houston in 2007.
Sometimes it hasn't been so close, like last season's 63-28 loss to Houston or the 31-3 loss to UTEP in 2005.
Sixth-year guard John Bruhin can't pinpoint why Marshall's fortunes have gone so sour in Texas. It's just that they have.
"I can't really put my finger on it," he said. "Just going down there is a long trip. There maybe the lag time over it, but that's no excuse."