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Illinois Penn St Football

A general view of Beaver Stadium before an NCAA college football game between Illinois and Penn State in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. 

HUNTINGTON — There will be plenty of “We Are...” chants in State College, Pennsylvania, to open the 2026 season.

On Thursday, Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick confirmed that the Thundering Herd will travel to Happy Valley to take on Penn State on Sept. 6, 2026.

“It’s something we pretty much agreed on about six to eight months ago,” Hamrick said. “We’ve been working on it and it’s good that we’ve now got the contracts signed.”

According to sources, the single game will net Marshall $1.5 million. The Herd also will get 3,000 to 4,000 tickets to sell for fans, making for a unique opportunity for Herd fans.

“It’s a very prestigious game, but it’s also a financial game for us — really helps us financially down the road,” Hamrick said. “We have tickets for our fans to go enjoy one of the best atmospheres in college football.”

Both teams are well-known for their “We Are...” chants from fans, whether those end with Penn State or Marshall, which should make for some fun in Happy Valley.

And while Hamrick confirmed that talks on the series preceded the hiring of new head coach Charles Huff, the game does set up an interesting scenario should both head coaches remain in place until that time.

Huff coached for Franklin at Penn State from 2014-17, recruiting and developing Saquon Barkley to the Nittany Lions’ program.

Regardless of whether both coaches will be there at that point, the game will be a landmark matchup for the Herd.

“If you’re going to play a money game, it’s a good game,” Hamrick said. “It’s close, it’s a great trip for our fans and it’s a highly-respected Big Ten program.”

In addition to the large payday that will help financially, it will mark the first meeting between the programs since 1930 — a stretch of 96 years.

In the only two previous meetings, Penn State earned a 26-7 victory in 1929 before following with a 65-0 victory over the Herd in 1930.

Penn State marks Marshall’s third opponent to be signed for the 2026 season.

Marshall will also host Liberty in 2026 at a date to be determined while also traveling to Army on Oct. 11 in that season.

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