Marshall has never had four consecutive 10-win seasons in its history. While that might seem like a stretch in 2016, coach Doc Holliday is confident in the ability of quarterback Chase Litton to put the Thundering Herd in the hunt for a Conference USA championship.
Holliday has gone 33-8 since 2013, including a conference title in 2014 and a 10-3 finish last season when Litton was a freshman.
''We just can't forget what got us to where we are these last three years - that's going to work every day,'' Holliday said. ''You can't get complacent. You can't get selfish. You've got to hold each other accountable. The last three years we've done that, and that can't change this year.''
Litton took over as starter for Michael Birdsong in the third game last season, tossing four touchdown passes in his debut. Litton won his first seven starts and led the Thundering Herd to a 16-10 win over Connecticut in the St. Petersburg Bowl. For the season Litton completed 60 percent of his pass attempts for 2,605 yards with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
All Holliday asks of Litton is ''just continue to grow.
''I thought he exceeded his expectations as a true freshman,'' Holliday said. ''But now he's got to take that next step. He's not a freshman anymore. Just take that next step as far as leadership things go and understanding the offense.''
Some things to know about the Thundering Herd in 2016:
Marshall, which has seven home games for the first time since 1996, hosts Louisville on Sept. 24 and travels the following week to play Pittsburgh. The Thundering Herd are expected to battle favorite Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky for the East Division crown and play both at home.
Converted wide receiver Hyleck Foster could be the primary running back again this season after he subbed for the injured Devon Johnson over the second half of last season. Foster finished with 453 yards, including a pair of 100-yard games. Junior college transfer Anthony Anderson, who is 240 pounds, has drawn size comparisons to the beefy Johnson.
HELP AT LB
The departure of 2015 Conference USA defensive player of the year and team leading tackler Evan McKelvey left a huge hole at linebacker. Damien Dozier has moved over from the defensive line to help out. And Davon Durant joins Marshall after sitting out last season following his transfer from Arizona. The Sun Devils dismissed the top junior college prospect after he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation in a domestic violence case.
An 8-4 finish should get Marshall into a bowl for a fourth straight season.
Morgan State, Sept. 10, in Huntington.