MU, Ohio renew battle
HUNTINGTON -- The old "Bell" won't get too rusty following the 2015 football season.
Marshall University athletic director Mike Hamrick announced Monday that the "Battle for the Bell" between the Thundering Herd and Ohio will continue in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
"Look at the attendance here and there when the teams meet," Hamrick said. "We have excellent attendance here and when we play up there, they are basically full for our games. It's kind of like a home game because a lot of our fans can drive up and get up and back the same day. Marshall and Ohio have been long-time rivals for years. It just makes sense."
The current contract between the schools was a six-year deal with annual games from 2010 to 2015. The final two games of the contract have Marshall hosting the Bobcats on Sept. 13 this year before the Herd plays in Athens, Ohio, on Sept. 12, 2015.
While Hamrick announced the dates for the series to resume, he also confirmed that there would be no discussions for the 2016 to 2018 seasons.
Marshall will host the first meeting of the renewed series on Sept. 14, 2019, at Joan C. Edwards Stadium before returning to Peden Stadium in Athens on Sept. 19, 2020.
"Based upon their schedules and our schedules, that was the earliest that we could play," Hamrick said.
The series dates back to 1905 when Marshall won a 6-5 decision in Huntington. Since that time, the teams have met 57 times with Ohio leading that series 32-19-6, which includes winning the last three meetings.
Marshall's last win against the Bobcats was Sept. 25, 2010, when the Herd survived, 24-23, after Ohio failed on a two-point conversion with no time left on the clock. The two-point conversion came as a result of a Hail Mary pass that went for a touchdown as time expired.
Since then, the Herd has not been able to ring the bell -- the traveling trophy between the teams. Ohio defeated Marshall 44-7 at Peden Stadium in 2011 before a pair of victories by a field goal in the last two years. Ohio got a late interception to beat Marshall 27-24 in Huntington in 2012 before a 34-31 victory in Athens last season.
While Hamrick said the 2019 and 2020 games are a long way away, the proximity of the schools and the solid attendance at both venues makes it a viable partnership.
"Scheduling is very fluid and it changes every day," Hamrick said. "At this point, we don't know what will happen going forward. It's a game that everyone seems to like.
"For right now, those are the two games that we have scheduled."
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