HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Returning Marshall football players still sore about their performance versus Rice in the Conference USA title game get a chance at revenge in November.
This time, the Thundering Herd will host the Owls in a Nov. 15 clash, according to the 2014 football schedule released Monday.
All five of the Football Bowl Subdivision teams on Marshall's six-game home slate won at least six games last season and three of them went to bowl games. The sixth home opponent is Rhode Island, which popped up on the schedule after the Herd and Louisville pushed back their game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium from 2014 to 2016.
Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said he is happy with the way the football schedule shook out, including being able to find Rhode Island to fill a hole on short notice.
"We schedule games four, five or six years ahead of time," Hamrick said. "There were no (Football Bowl Subdivision) schools available on that date that would come to Huntington. We were fortunate to find Rhode Island. I don't know if we had many other options on that date."
The home games, as of now, are Ohio, Rhode Island, Oct. 11 versus Middle Tennessee, Oct. 25 versus Florida Atlantic, Nov. 15 versus Rice and Nov. 28 versus Western Kentucky. The Bobcats, Blue Raiders and Rice Owls all went to bowls in 2013. Rhode Island, a Football Championship Subdivision team, finished last season at 3-9.
The highlight of the home schedule is the Rice rematch. Marshall fans had hoped the two teams would have battled in Huntington for the conference crown last season. They were optimistic that would happen after the Herd received votes in the USA Today coaches and Harris polls, which were part of the BCS formula that, according to C-USA, was part of the tiebreaker process for deciding home field.
That formula, however, ended up giving Rice the game. The Herd fell behind early by two touchdowns and trailed by as many as 24 in a 41-24 loss. Marshall rebounded, though, to beat Maryland in the Military Bowl and finish 10-4, the Herd's first season with double-digit wins since 2002.
The away games are Aug. 30 at Miami (Ohio), Sept. 20 at Akron, Oct. 4 at Old Dominion, Oct. 18 at Florida International, Nov. 8 at Southern Mississippi and Nov. 22 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Bye weekends will be Sept. 27 and Nov. 1.
With ODU located in Norfolk, Va., Marshall will play nine of its 12 regular-season games in Ohio, Virginia or West Virginia. That adds up to a very travel-friendly scenario for Marshall, Hamrick said.