ATHENS, Ohio - It wasn't that the Marshall football team didn't know how crucial turnovers - the ones the Thundering Herd committed and the ones the Ohio Bobcats hadn't - were in the two previous meetings before Saturday night "Battle for the Bell."
In fact, the Herd knew it all too well.
In those two games, the Herd gave the ball away nine times to Ohio's three and, in both those games, Marshall walked away with the loss. Yet the Herd's hands weren't any stickier Saturday night.
Marshall committed another four turnovers - three fumbles and an interception - and the result was the same. The Bobcats scored their third straight win in the series, this time 34-31 in Peden Stadium. It's the first three-game win streak for Ohio versus Marshall since the 1978-80 seasons.
"It was very frustrating," senior offensive lineman Garrett Scott said. "In order to win the game, you've got to take care of the ball. All of us feel like we didn't accomplish that goal. Our goal is to have no turnovers throughout the game, so we didn't accomplish what we wanted to accomplish."
Those three fumbles, two of which led to touchdowns, were the first three the Herd has given away this season. That sent them plummeting from a tie for first in the Football Bowl Subdivision to a tie for 89th. Until Saturday, Marshall had been the ball hawks, picking up three fumbles and four interceptions in the first two games.
Once again, though, the balls bounced off the turf against the Bobcats and they weren't bouncing Marshall's way. Quarterback Rakeem Cato said that just seemed to be a trend in this rivalry.
"They always seem to 'luck up,'" Cato said. "Every time we play them, it always seems something happens."
The flukiest fumble came with 5:08 left in the first half and put the Herd (2-1) into a two-score hole. After a 32-yard Matt Green field goal gave Ohio a 10-7 lead, Josiah Yazdani's ensuing kickoff landed at the Marshall 5. Steward Butler attempted to field it on the bounce, but try as he might, he couldn't gain control. He juggled it, then bobbled it into the end zone, where Toran Davis fell on it for a touchdown and a 17-7 Ohio lead.
"Offensively, we can't turn the ball over and that one kickoff return was unacceptable," Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said.