HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - It was a noisy scene in the Marshall University football team's weight room as the players worked out Sunday, receiver Tommy Shuler said. It was a happy one, too.
"Everybody was throwing weight around, moving around," he said. "That's just the feeling of winning. We want that feeling."
And the Thundering Herd has been experiencing that feeling at a clip that hasn't been seen around the program for a while.
The Herd's come-from-behind win at Tulsa on Thursday was the team's third straight. A win Saturday at Florida International University (6 p.m., Fox College Sports Central) would give Marshall four in a row, a streak length it hasn't enjoyed since winning five straight in 2004. And at 7-3 (5-1 in Conference USA), the team hasn't won that many games in the regular season since going 8-4 in 2003.
The players say the path to those goals becomes a lot smoother when they can wake up every day since the beginning of November knowing they won the game before.
That's something the Herd could never say last season. Marshall never won two games in a row last season, much less four. For every heartening win, like the double-overtime thriller over Rice, there was a gut punch of a loss, like at Purdue where the Herd suffered back-to-back interception returns for touchdowns.
Receiver Craig Wilkins said it wasn't that the team didn't prepare every week last season, but the atmosphere surrounding the preparation is different this year.
"If it's a game you love, you wake up every day with a purpose when you go out on the field," Wilkins said. "But the difference is, this year, we have more leaders. We have more seniors and they have bigger expectations."