"That's another thing too – being the first player in school history to win it," Marshall continued. "It all plays into how grateful I am to win the award. I had a vision of it when we started conference play. I wanted to go out, be as solid as possible, make plays and lead my team to victory."
That he did, as he racked up 2,545 yards of total offense, accounted for 22 touchdowns, and earned a quarterback efficiency rating of 147.9, good for 17th in the country. Despite being in a conference with a number of passers who racked up big yardage totals, including Connecticut's Dan Orlovsky and Pitt's Tyler Palko, Marshall won the award with an all-around game.
To some observers, Marshall's selection might have been a surprise, but the Pittsburgh native said he was not shocked when told he was selected.
"I wasn't necessarily surprised," the plain-spoken quarterback said. "Around the UConn game, I thought I had a shot at making it. I was more happy that I reached the goal than anything."
Marshall was most animated when discussing the award as a reward for sticking out the transition from former coach Don Nehlen to current boss Rich Rodriguez.
"It's a payoff for all the ups and downs, but I never quit. I'm not saying players in my situation would have quit or not given it their all, but the first day Coach Rod stepped on the campus guys left the team. I always kept a positive attitude about everything. I never thought about leaving, and besides that, I'm not a quitter, so it never crossed my mind. That was easy for me to do for the most part, because it's all a mindset. Anytime things went wrong or didn't go my way, I just said ‘there's going to be a next time'. You have to have a short memory and just go forward."
With this accolade from opposing coaches safely tucked away, Marshall is now turning his attention to the Gator Bowl. And although he doesn't think that a win would fully make up for what he termed an "underachieving" season, he wants to get the win to get the program back into a winning situation.
"The bowl will be a good time, but hopefully there's a different outcome," said Marshall, who will be making his final appearance in the gold and blue. "It's definitely something positive to look forward to. After losing two straight we need to get back and make our mark again. It's big. As a program we're not used to that, and it doesn't feel good, when you know you shouldn't have lost or should have played better.
"We didn't achieve everything we were capable of achieving. There were times where we hurt ourselves and fell short. A bowl game would help erase that a little bit, but you still think about those games that you lost."
Marshall and his Mountaineer teammates will continue lifting and running this week, then begin practice over the weekend. They are scheduled to fly to Jacksonville on Christmas Day.