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Herd's Sparrow heals quickly

MU football
Sep. 20, 2013 @ 12:32 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University defensive tackle Brandon Sparrow was not pleased about missing last week's loss to Ohio because of an ankle injury.

Now, faced with the prospect of missing another game Saturday at Virginia Tech, he was almost defiant in his delivery.

"My ankle feels pretty good," Sparrow said. "It feels a lot better. I feel like it's going to be a game-time decision whether I play."

Marshall (2-1) meets Virginia Tech (2-1) in a Saturday, noon, game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va.

The Thundering Herd has a bye week following the Virginia Tech contest, meaning resting Sparrow would give him two weeks to heal for the Oct. 5 home game against UTSA.

Sparrow, however, wants to play Saturday.

His hometown of Bedford, Va., is roughly one hour from Blacksburg and this is the senior's final chance to play in front of his home crowd.

He's gone above and beyond trying to get tickets for family and friends.

"Oh, gosh," Sparrow said. "I can't even count how many tickets I've been trying to get. I'm like a scout. Just trying to scout tickets off of everybody this week. With our Florida guys, I've been making deals with them for our Florida games."

The game also represents a matchup with Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas, an old rival. They shared many battles when Sparrow was at Liberty High School and Thomas was playing for Brookville High School.

They both remember those battles.

"He's from my hometown," Thomas said. "He's a year younger, but I played him three years while he was varsity. He's a big kid whose gotten a lot bigger since we both went to college. I saw him this summer and wished him the best of luck. It's good to see those guys from the hometown making it."

The distance between Bedford and Thomas' hometown of Lynchburg is about 25 miles -- the same distance as Huntington to Hurricane or Ironton.

Therefore, the elite athletes know each other well.

"It's cool to play against someone I know on a major college football level," Sparrow said. "It's an old rivalry coming back together."

Their old high schools actually met last week on the field with Brookville earning a 31-30 victory over Liberty.

Sparrow would love nothing more than to get a little revenge for that rivalry loss by getting the best of Thomas this weekend while sending the Herd into its bye week at 3-1.

"It's a big game," Sparrow said. "It's Virginia Tech. They've got history and we've got history, too.

"They're a top-notch program and we have to be prepared to play a top-notch program."

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