Homecoming 2012 special to Herd
HUNTINGTON — Marshall University football players have always taken pride in "protecting the Joan," as they put it during interviews this week.
But, protecting the home field takes on a bigger meaning Saturday on Homecoming with perennial Conference USA juggernaut coming to Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Kickoff is 3:30 p.m. for a televised game on the CBS Sports Network (Huntington Ch. 174).
"It's definitely going to be live," Marshall wide receiver and captain Aaron Dobson said. "We've got a chip on our shoulder, it's our Homecoming and we've been away from home for two weeks. There's a lot to play for this week."
The contest has all the makings of a big-time game -- Marshall's top-ranked offense in C-USA vs. Tulsa's top ranked defense in C-USA; a national TV audience; a large local audience with former players and alumni coming in for Homecoming; and an upper-hand in momentum heading into the bulk of conference play.
It's a game that has everyone pumped up, including Marshall head coach Doc Holliday.
"Our kids are excited, I'm excited, our coaches are and we need to get our fan base excited," Holliday said. "Let's get a heck of a turnout for Homecoming, let's go play our tails off and see what happens."
The excitement of the players was seen all week in practice as they talked about protecting the field and getting back in front of the home fans after tough road games at Rice and Purdue.
Dobson isn't the only captain with local ties to the team who will be aiming for a key Homecoming win.
Defensive end Jeremiah Taylor, a South Point, Ohio, product, is eager to not only earn the win in front of a large crowd of locals, but to also lead the defense in turning things around against one of the most versatile offenses in the league.
"Home crowd, Homecoming, it's going to be packed," Taylor said. "We just have to make sure we do our job and make it miserable for them."
Marshall is 58-44-8 all-time in Homecoming contests dating back to 1895.
Since Joan C. Edwards Stadium opened in 1991, the Thundering Herd is 18-3 in Homecoming contests. That number includes a 15-game winning streak from 1993 to 2007.
People attending Marshall football home games are permitted to bring their own seatbacks as long as they don't exceed the seat size limit and are without arms. Seatbacks are available for $6 at Gate C and Gate E.
Marshall Maniacs, a student organization, will present athletic director Mike Hamrick and Big Green Scholarship Foundation executive director John Sutherland with a $25,000 check for the Vision Campaign at a break during the first quarter.
Men's basketball head coach Tom Herrion and several players will be recognized on the field during one of the first-quarter breaks.
More than 100 track and field and cross country student-athletes will be recognized during a third-quarter break.
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