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HUNTINGTON — Upon arrival in Huntington, Marshall football coach Charles Huff was intent on bringing a high-powered offense to the Thundering Herd.

Following Saturday’s 34-28 loss to Middle Tennessee, however, Huff had one simple statement that summed up the Herd’s current three-game skid.

“It’s hard to be an explosive offense if you don’t have the ball or if you give it back to them after a few plays,” Huff said.

While the current three-game skid is not something Huff envisioned, there are still plenty of positives that can be taken from what has happened — some of which he pointed out in post-game interviews.

The first thing that came to mind was what it meant for the Herd in its chase for a Conference USA Championship, which is still the goal.

Even though a loss to Middle Tennessee shrunk the Herd’s margin for error moving forward, the Blue Raiders’ two previous conference losses meant that, in essence, the goals of the Herd were not severely hindered.

The bottom line is, if the Herd takes care of business each week from here on out, those goals are still well within reach.

Finding a way to take care of business each week is the ultimate question — one Marshall has not seemed to figure out against comparable competition.

Marshall’s offense is still producing big numbers in terms of yardage and point production, but the biggest number has been turnovers and missed opportunities, which have been the most consistent aspect of Marshall’s play in 2021.

The six-turnover performance in Saturday’s loss at Middle Tennessee shows the magnification of mistakes. In a game in which Marshall gave six possessions away, it only lost by one score.

As Marshall prepares for Old Dominion this week, the Herd has to take a long look in the mirror while Huff and his staff take a long look at the personnel.

“We’ve got to look at who’s playing,” Huff said. “This is becoming a recurring issue. We’ve got good players who can’t hold on to the ball....Ultimately, you have to play the guys that can hold on to the football. A guy can be Barry Sanders, but if a guy can’t hold on to the football, it’s going to be difficult for the team to be successful.”

Despite the frustrations of the three-game losing streak, Huff said the confidence in his team is not wavering as they go back to work and get set for a Homecoming matchup on Saturday against an Old Dominion team who took 2020 off and has a three-game losing streak of its own coming into Joan C. Edwards Stadium for the 2 p.m. matchup.

“We’re close. That’s what we are,” Huff said. “We are a good football team that has to understand that execution and consistency in execution is the key. When you are playing these types of games against really good opponents, the margin for error is very small. I believe we are in these games because we are a good football team.

“I don’t know what happened last year, but it’s kind of the same thing. We get to a point where we’ve got to find a way to push through. I think we’re close.”

Grant Traylor is the sports editor of The Herald-Dispatch, who also covers Marshall athletics for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter @GrantTraylor.

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