HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- In the twilight of Marshall's 59-28 Conference USA East Division clinching win Friday afternoon, Derrick Thomas draped an arm around the shoulders of his head coach, Doc Holliday, and distracted him from the mischief.
Behind Holliday, two players hoisted a tub of Gatorade and drenched the unsuspecting coach from his white sweatshirt down to his black Nike shoes. A second wave of sugary sports drink and ice -- from different culprits -- came moments later.
Holliday, who improved to 8-0 all-time in November home games and guided the Thundering Herd into next Saturday's C-USA title game, flashed a toothy grin and embraced his players.
Still, he would've preferred to delay the dousing for eight days.
"I wish they hadn't of done that because that should be reserved for the championship," Holliday said after Marshall routed rival East Carolina to improve to 9-3 overall and 7-1 in league play.
"I guess it's been so damn long (since) we won one around here, they had to practice."
An announced crowd of 25,117 -- the ninth-largest November crowd in Edwards Stadium history -- watched as Marshall reeled off its fifth consecutive victory to capture the East Division crown. The Herd's opponent and the championship site will be determined after this weekend's games.
Marshall has averaged five victories per year over the last eight seasons, but can get win No. 10 of the season in the C-USA championship game.
"We haven't played for a championship in 11 years," Holliday said. "That's the biggest game that has been in that stadium in 11 years. To dominate that team the way we did, it's huge. But we've got a bigger one next week."