HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The Marshall football team's roadblocks to victory haven't always come from the opposing sideline this season.
At 2-4 through its first six games, the Thundering Herd didn't just deal with the problems its adversaries presented. It also had to overcome self-inflicted maladies.
"Sometimes, it just burns you up," corner Keith Baxter Jr. said. "You're like, 'How are we losing these games?' and 'How are they scoring on those drives?' We're shooting ourselves in the foot a lot of the time. It really burns me up sometimes that we're doing it to ourselves."
It's the mistakes Marshall knows it's able to correct - turnovers and penalties - that made it even more difficult for the Herd to win in the first half of the 2012 season. And it's those mistakes the players know must be erased if they want to reverse the team's fortunes and reach another bowl game.
The Herd was flagged 46 times in its first six games, and averaged 72.12 penalty yards per game. That ranks Marshall 103rd among 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Marshall also is one of nine teams in the FBS tied for 89th in turnovers lost with 12 - six interceptions and six fumbles.
"Those are the (mistakes) you can correct and those are the ones that cost you games," sixth-year guard John Bruhin said. "Turnovers and penalties can seal a game. That's what we have to focus on."
It's not just that turnovers and penalties are happening. It's also about when they happen. Only Oregon is worse in the FBS in allowing first downs by penalty.
The Ducks have allowed 18, while Marshall and Utah State have allowed 17. In the Herd's 27-24 loss to Ohio, the Bobcats took a 17-14 halftime lead following a 13-play, 96-yard touchdown drive. That drive could have been stopped after four plays, but Baxter was flagged for pass interference on third and 6 at Ohio's 19.
Marshall's turnovers have been especially frustrating for the team over the last two games. Three of them have been returned for touchdowns. Marshall lost to Purdue by 10 two weeks ago and gave the Boilermakers 14 points on two pick-six interceptions in the second quarter. In this past Saturday's 45-38 loss to Tulsa, Dwight Dobbins scooped up an Aaron Dobson fumble for an 11-yard touchdown return.