Marshall Football Banquet Set for Dec. 9, Will Honor Bowl-Bound Team
Dinner and individual awards highlight special night
Big Green Scholarship Foundation
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall University football banquet, which will honor the bowl-bound 2017 team, is set for Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Henderson Center. The event, which begins at 6 p.m., is only $30 per ticket.
All fans are eligible to purchase tickets to the event, which will feature dinner, a season highlights video and individual awards.
Those in attendance will be the first to learn the announcement of team captains, as well as winners of the Team MVP award, Offensive MVP, Defensive MVP, Chad Pennington Award and more (see full list below).
Marshall enters bowl season with one of the top defensive teams in the nation: No. 18 in scoring defense, No. 20 in rush defense and No. 24 in total defense. The last team to finish in the top 25 nationally in total defense – by yards allowed per game – was the 2003 Herd, which won eight games.
Marshall finished this season 7-5, and has a shot at eight wins for the 24th time in school history. The Thundering Herd is guaranteed a bowl game, which will be the 14th in program history. MU coach Doc Holliday is 4-0 in bowl games, winning by an average of 14.0 points per game.
In addition to this year’s defensive prowess, Marshall is No. 13 in punting (44.32 yards per punt) and is one of 14 teams with multiple kickoff returns for a touchdown. The spectacular special teams performance doesn’t stop there, as the Herd is No. 16 in kickoff return yardage allowed (17.74 yards per return on 31 kicks).
Marshall is one of 13 teams that has not allowed a kickoff return of 30-plus yards this season.
The MU offense is No. 3 in sacks allowed and No. 22 in third down conversions, and has showcased impressive individual performances.
Senior tight end Ryan Yurachek, who Friday was named to the Conference USA All-Academic team, is one of the most productive at his position in school history and among FBS players this season. Yurachek is third in program history in receptions by a tight end (136), fourth in receiving yards (1,294) and second in touchdowns (25). He is tied for third nationally in touchdown catches by a tight end this season, with nine.
He is but one star on an offense that frequently started five freshmen, including on an offensive line with one sophomore and three freshmen that surrendered only eight sacks in 12 games – No. 3 nationally among FBS teams. Freshman running back Tyler King ranks in the Top 10 nationally for rushing yards by a freshman; Junior receiver Tyre Brady is No. 3 in C-USA in receiving yards per game and No. 4 in receiving touchdowns this season. Junior quarterback Chase Litton now one of four quarterbacks in school history to surpass 8,000 passing yards and 70 passing touchdowns in a career.
Six different players led the Herd in receiving yards in a game this season. That unit did not have a single player on its two-deep depth chart who had started a game for Marshall entering the season.
The battle for defensive honors will be compelling, too.
Junior linebacker Chase Hancock, a Beckley native, is No. 12 nationally in tackles. He and sophomore safety Malik Gant both rank in the top 10 within C-USA in tackles. Junior defensive tackle Ryan Bee has 5.5 sacks, a career best after his move inside from defensive end. Marshall has one of the deepest linebacker corps in the country, and helped the defense allow only two plays of 50-plus yards this season.
The Marshall defense also scored four times, including two by sophomore cornerback Chris Jackson (interception and a fumble return).
And then there is senior Kaare Vedvik, who handled kickoff, field goal and punt duties for the Herd. Vedvik was one of the nation’s top punters, and gained national acclaim when he booted a 92-yard punt – the seventh-longest in FBS history and the longest in 45 years.
The dinner and awards banquet will honor a special group that has won 33 games the last four seasons.
To purchase tickets, call the Big Green offices at 304-696-4661.
2017 Marshall football player awards
Special Teams MVP
Chad Pennington Award (Offensive player who gave their all on and off the field)
Tom Stark Award (Defensive player who gave their all on and off the field)
Defensive Gridiron Gladiator (Relentless, gives you everything he has all of the time)
Offensive Gridiron Gladiator (Relentless, gives you everything he has all of the time)
Jim Conard Award (Top offensive lineman)
Senior scholar award (Senior with the highest cumulative GPA)
Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year
Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year