A Banner Day For Marshall Football


Members of the 1996 National Championship Team are saluted by a record spring game crowd at Edwards Stadium.

Members of the 1996 National Championship Team are saluted by a record spring game crowd at Edwards Stadium.

April 22, 2006

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's 2006 Green & White game was an impressive spectacle. A Thundering Herd spring game record crowd of 17,346 looked on as Marshall showcased some amazing star power with Hollywood stars Matthew McConaughey and David Strathairn, and NFL stars Randy Moss, Chad Pennington, Troy Brown and John Wade in attendance. In addition, the Thundering Herd football team wrapped up spring practice as the White took a 17-0 win over the Green at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

"This is a great day for Huntington and Marshall University," Thundering Herd head coach Mark Snyder said. "Today was about our 1996 team, the We Are Marshall movie and the fans. I was hoping for a crowd of close to 15,000, but to have more than 17,000 it truly amazing. It is a great time to be a Herd fan."

Marshall celebrated Marshall more than anything else on what turned out to be a spectacular day for the Thundering Herd. Nearly all of Marshall's 1996 National Championship team that recorded a remarkable 15-0 record was in attendance. This group, which includes current NFL stars Randy Moss and Chad Pennington, returned to Huntington for three days of reunion activities that culminated with the Green-White game.

"It's just been great to come back and see everyone and their families," Randy Moss said. "What we did in 1996 was special and to be able to come together this week with our family at Marshall has been great."

Earlier in the week, Chad Pennington and Randy Moss announced plans to endow a football scholarship in honor of the 1996 team and create a football foundation that will oversee a fund to benefit the Marshall Football program for years to come.

"Marshall has done a lot for us," Chad Pennington said. "Hopefully by giving back in this way we can provide an avenue for others to give back. Marshall has done a lot for us and hopefully we can help the next Randy Moss and Chad Pennington. We want to make sure that this football program continues to be successful."

In addition to the 1996 team, Marshall celebrated the close of shooting in Huntington of the Warner Brothers movie, "We Are Marshall" that chronicles Marshall's perseverance against all odds following the tragic 1970 plane crash that took the lives of 75 football players, coaches, staff members, and community leaders.

Actors Matthew McConaughey and David Strathairn joined the 1996 Marshall Team has honorary coaches, while a Warner Brothers film crew shot crowd and stadium scenes for use in the movie which is scheduled to be released later this year.

McConaughey addressed the crowd toward the end of the game and thanked all of Huntington for its hospitality during the shoot. The actor also told the crowd it is an honor to play a part in telling the world about Marshall's story and that he looks forward to returning in the future.

Movie director McG also received a roaring applause at halftime of the game. The well-known director put on a field goal kicking display, connecting on three field goals before attempting several from 40 yards out. McG announced to the crowd that he would donate $1,000 to Marshall for every kick he made. After failing to connect from 40+ yards out, the popular director announced to the crowd that he would donate $20,000 to Marshall.

Besides the movie and NFL stars, Marshall Fans were treated to a spring football game. Junior quarterback Bernard Morris completed six-of-eight passes for 78 yards and scored a touchdown on a two-yard run to lead the White team to a 17-0 win.

Senior linebacker Matt Couch led the Green with 11 total tackles, while sophomore C.J. Spillman added eight. The White defense was paced by senior strong safety Curtis Keyes who notched four stops, including a sack.

White team running back Gerwin Williams led all rushers with 75 yards and a touchdown, while receiver Robert Surratt had a game-high 98 receiving yards on six catches.

Junior College transfer Anthony Binswanger connected on a 24-yard field goal to open the scoring and successfully converted both PATs for the white team.

The Green & White game concluded spring practice for the Thundering Herd. Marshall will open its 2006 season on Sept. 2 in Morgantown against West Virginia University.