HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Marshall visits an opponent this Saturday that has no other option but perfection.
Southern Mississippi (0-6, 0-2 Conference USA) has finished with a winning record in 18 consecutive seasons and has reached a bowl game in 14 of the last 15 seasons.
The only way the Golden Eagles extend either of those streaks is to win their next six games for the second half of 2012. That's no easy task.
Yet the Thundering Herd won't look down its nose at Southern Miss when the two clash at 7 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).
"We're 2-4," redshirt freshman outside linebacker D.J. Hunter said. "We're not too far off from them."
The Herd doesn't need to go undefeated following its bye week to reach back-to-back bowls for the first time since 2001 and 2002. The margin for error, though, is slim. Six wins is the magic number for bowl eligibility and both the Herd and Golden Eagles are starving for a win to kickstart some momentum.
At least Marshall has some experience in this predicament. The Herd (2-4, 1-1) was sitting in the exact same spot last year that it is this year.
Marshall rebounded to reach and win the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl over Florida International.
Marshall Coach Doc Holliday would love to see a repeat performance.
"That football team (last season) had a small group of seniors, but those seniors played their best football the last six or seven weeks of the season and ended up winning five of the last seven and finished on a positive note," he said. "That's exactly the same place we are right now."
The Herd feels its bye week came at a perfect time.
The team got a break from a six-week grind of games and an opportunity to focus on itself for a few days.
That allowed banged-up players to heal and the rest to work on things like ball security on offense and communication on defense.