"You can tell about how well they are being coached from watching tape," Holliday said, "because they play hard every down."
The Golden Eagles haven't won a game since Dec. 24, 2011, when they beat Nevada in the Hawai'i Bowl to finish 12-2. This season, only two of their seven losses have come by seven or fewer points. Despite those problems, USM quarterback Nick Mullens agreed that the team's spirit hasn't died, and that's a testament to Head Coach Todd Monken.
"As the leaders go, the team goes, and that's what Coach Monken's doing," Mullens said. "He's being a great leader. He's keeping the energy alive and the grind alive to work for success. We're enjoying the game of football. We might be losing, but we're working to win and we're going to get it eventually."
Herd defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said there were plenty of things to work on after Marshall's last-second loss to Middle Tennessee in a game where the Herd gave up season highs in points (51) and yards (585).
"When the ball gets outside you, bad things happen," he said. "You've got to run-fit the correct way, and I've got to put us in some situations on third down where we're more anticipating situations. A combination of all those things left us on the field too much and they're all things that are fixable."
But sometimes, Heater said, the defensive players and coaches assume the opposition will go one way and then do something completely different. That's what happened on the game-winning touchdown, a nine-yard pass from Logan Kilgore to Tavarres Jefferson.
"I had a coverage that lent itself more to helping the outside guys," he said. "Sometimes you're just guessing, but we should have had better coverage on the guy in the seam. That's where they threw it."
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.