Curry ready for 1st series win
HUNTINGTON -- The other in-state NCAA Division I school makes a rare appearance in your town. A packed house is certain. National television is present.
It must be Friends of Coal Bowl time.
It is, and this time it's West Virginia's turn to travel Interstates 79 and 64 for its game against Marshall. The Mountaineers and Thundering Herd meet at 7 p.m., Friday, at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The national exposure comes courtesy of ESPN.
"It's rivalry week. I'm pumped up," Herd defensive end Vinny Curry said Saturday after an afternoon practice session.
West Virginia's last trip to Huntington was 2007 and the Herd actually held a 13-6 lead at halftime. The Mountaineers got untracked in the second half and pulled away to a 48-23 victory. Their series lead now stands at 9-0.
Curry watched that 2007 game from Section 115 in the stands. Recruited to Marshall by former head coach Mark Snyder, Curry got in 12 preseason practices before the NCAA declared him ineligible. Curry was an academic non-qualifier. He had an outstanding career at Neptune (N.J) High School and Harmony Community School in Cincinnati.
Curry remembers that 2007 contest well.
"When we lost, I looked at the guys and the fans and saw the disappointment on their faces," Curry said. "I don't want to see that again. I'm extra motivated."
Marshall opened the coach Doc Holliday era Thursday at No. 2 Ohio State. The Buckeyes jumped to a 35-7 halftime lead on the way to a 45-7 victory. In the second quarter, the Herd got hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct call after sacking Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Curry drew the penalty, but the call went on Donald Brown.
"That surprised me," Curry said. "I pointed to the crowd (Marshall fans were located near that play). I wanted to let them know we're not giving up. That's the type of game you dream of when you're little. We're there, let's go. I'm sorry about the call."
Pryor, a Heisman Trophy candidate, threw for 247 yards and three scores. Brandon Saine led the Buckeyes on the ground with 103 yards and two touchdowns. Ohio State had 529 total yards.
"They're No. 2 in the nation. Terrelle Pryor's a Heisman candidate," Curry said. "I wish I could press the rewind button and do some things over again. I can't. We know what we've got to get corrected."
West Virginia opened its season Saturday with a 31-0 win over Coastal Carolina at home. The Mountaineers (No. 25 in The Associated Press Top 25 and 24th in the USA Today poll) have threats on offense, too, in running back Noel Devine, quarterback Geno Smith and receiver Jock Sanders.
"Guys can feed off my energy," Curry said. "We've got to get a better pass rush. They've got Devine, Geno and Jock. We all have to do the job we're coached to do. Follow the blueprint coach Holliday's laid out. It's right there."
Not that he needs it, but Curry gets extra motivation long before practice. When he heads to class or walks around campus, Curry sees fellow students in WVU's blue and gold.
"Too much for me," he said. "I show some restraint."
For Curry, there are three other sources of inspiration.
"We're going back to the Joan (stadium), we've never beaten them and I'm tired of being called little brother," he said.
Curry knows Herd fans are disappointed by the score at Ohio State, but that mood can quickly change with an inspired effort Friday night.
"We're family," he said. "They'll have their 3,500. The rest will embrace us and the game."