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Chuck Landon: Redhawks give Herd chance for special win

Aug. 29, 2013 @ 12:27 AM

The Thundering Herd could make history on Saturday.

When Marshall hosts Miami (Ohio) at 7 p.m. in the 2013 football opener at Edwards Stadium, the Herd will have the opportunity to achieve a feat it never has accomplished.

It could beat a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent at "The Joan" in a season opener.

That never has happened.

Not ever.

Since Edwards Stadium opened in 1991, Marshall never has defeated an FBS or NCAA Division I-A opponent in a season opener.

In fact, it has been 30 long years since Marshall defeated a Division I-A foe in a season opener at home. The last time it happened was when the Sonny Randle-coached Herd upset Kent State, 30-21, in the 1982 season opener at Fairfield Stadium.

Talk about making a memory.

That's when Carl Lee was Marshall's star senior cornerback.

Yes, folks, it has been that long ago.

Since then, Marshall has defeated 10 different opponents in season openers in Huntington, including Morehead State (five times), WVU Tech (three times), Catawba, Howard, SE Missouri State, Appalachian State, Hofstra, William & Mary, Illinois State and Southern Illinois.

But none of those schools were FBS or Division I-A programs.

Surprising, huh?

What's even more surprising is during that 30-year span Marshall has hosted only one FBS or Division I-A program in a season opener. That happened in 2004 when coach Bobby Pruett's final team fell to Troy, 17-15, at Edwards Stadium.

Just think.

Everybody thought this was just another chance to beat the hated Miami RedHawks on Saturday.

Nope.

It's actually an opportunity to make history at "The Joan."

MORE HISTORY: No member of the 2013 Thundering Herd has played in a season opener at Edwards Stadium.

That's because this is Marshall's first season opener in Huntington since it defeated Southern Illinois, 31-28, in 2009.

And that means there are only nine current players who even watched the closer than expected game as true freshmen who were being red-shirted.

So, this is the first and last opportunity for cornerback Monterius Lovett, offensive lineman Jordan Jeffries, running back Essray Taliaferro, offensive lineman Alex Schooler, defensive end Alex Bazzie, linebacker Derek Mitchell, defensive end Matt Pickett and defensive tackle James Rouse to play in a season-opener at "The Joan."

The ninth red-shirt senior is linebacker Billy Mitchell, who is sidelined with a concussion.

And that concludes today's history lesson.

GOOD PERSPECTIVE: Garrett Scott has an interesting take on Marshall's opener against bitter rival Miami (Ohio).

"Coach (Doc) Holliday told us about it," said Scott, referring to Miami's 66-6 win over MU in 1971. "And it wasn't just him. Other people have told me, 'They ran the score up on us. Marshall fans still have a disgusting taste in their mouths about them.'

"Everybody knows what happened in that game. The season opener is motivation enough, but that adds extra motivation for a community-based team. And that's what we are."

Indeed.

Scott gets it.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Thundering Herd. Contact him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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