HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The Marshall football team mulled around Peden Stadium last September, watching the game clock tick down the final seconds of a stunning 44-7 loss to Ohio in the latest installment of "The Battle for the Bell."
As those seconds disappeared, the Bobcats pounced on that bell, taking possession of the trophy for the first time since 2001 and stamping a period on one of the most dismal games in Coach Doc Holliday's Marshall tenure.
"It was almost every negative emotion you could think of," offensive guard John Bruhin said.
It was almost every negative play you could think of, too - interceptions, fumbles and penalties. The Thundering Herd (1-1) knows those must be eliminated to compete with the Bobcats (2-0) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. After a decade of owning "The Bell," the Herd wants Ohio's time-share to be a short one.
The Herd never led last season's game, tying it once at 7-7 in the first quarter. The game devolved for Marshall into an avalanche of mistakes and Ohio capitalized on nearly every one.
The Herd fumbled twice and quarterback Rakeem Cato threw four interceptions.
The Bobcats converted those turnovers into 24 points.
"That's one of the worst games I've ever played, from little league to high school to college," said Cato, who completed just nine of 21 passes that day.
Marshall's defense allowed 559 yards of total offense and the Herd also tacked on 82 yards on 10 penalties. Mistakes like those could be fatal against a Bobcats team some national pundits believe could be a BCS buster.
Ohio returns quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 53 yards and another score against the Herd last season.