"They're all big," Holliday said. "Anytime you play a conference game, they're all big. The ultimate goal is to win a conference championship, so you play every one of them like it's a playoff game at this point."
Pelini looks at it the same way. He realizes Holliday's presence in that area has been solid since the 1980s, and that one win wouldn't be a deathblow in a recruiting battle. Pelini feels that the Owls will gain a foothold in the competition for players through long-term improvement.
"If we earn ourselves into a position as an option for these guys, then that is because of how we play week after week after week and I don't know that one game is going to sway a lot of kids," he told reporters Monday. "Marshall has a long history and a long tradition that obviously we don't have here, being a relatively new and start up program. To start putting ourselves at their level, we have got to do that week after week after week and season after season."
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WHILE MUCH of the spotlight has fallen on FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson - and for good reason, after he gained 404 total yards, threw for two touchdowns and ran for another last week - the Herd isn't overlooking a couple other key offensive players.
Starting running back Jonathan Wallace, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior, is seventh in Conference USA with 69.7 rushing yards per game. Receiver William Dukes, a 6-4, 190-pound junior, averages 13.4 yards per catch, leads the Owls with four touchdown catches, and was named with Marshall's Tommy Shuler to the Biletnikoff Award watch list.
"They've got a lot of that read series, where you hand the football to a good running back or take it yourself," Herd defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said. "And they're both legitimate guys, so you've got that problem. Then, if you get too nosy up in there, they've got receivers that can win outside. I think they're getting better. They're good players getting better every week."
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.