3,500 Herd fans made trip to Morgantown
MORGANTOWN -- An estimated 3,500 Marshall fans made their way to cold and dreary Morgantown, only to travel back to Huntington disappointed after a 24-7 loss to West Virginia at Milan Puskar Stadium in the 2009 Friends of Coal Bowl.
Poor weather conditions -- 41 degrees and rainy -- took a toll on the amount of fans for both teams in the announced crowd of 54,432, but some Thundering Herd fans said conditions and rain could not keep them away from the Mountain State's biggest football game of the year.
"There aren't as many this year as there were last year, partially because of the way we were treated, partially because of the weather -- but I'm glad for the people that did come and support the team in the cold," Huntington's Sheri Knuckles said. "Despite the rain and the cold, I'm having a good time."
Barboursville's Mike Ballard sat in the rain with his family, taking in the contest's final moments despite the outcome being well in hand.
Ballard said the unique atmosphere of taking in a game in Morgantown adds even more fuel to his desire to cheer on the Thundering Herd.
"Even though the fans here aren't as pleasant as we like, they aren't going to keep me from rooting for the Herd," Ballard said. "I think we gave a great defensive stand. I think if we could've gotten the offense going in the second half, we'd have been right with them."
Knuckles and Ballard had plenty to cheer about in the first half as Marshall dominated play and took a 7-3 lead into the locker room.
However, missed opportunities and two second-half turnovers turned into another win for West Virginia, who moved to 9-0 in the all-time series between the teams.
While Ballard and Knuckles had a good time in Morgantown, the mood was different among Herd players who thought that they let Marshall's first win in series history slip through their hands.
Now, Marshall players have to wait until Sept. 11, 2010, to attempt to earn the school's first win in series history when the Mountaineers come to Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington.