Football Faces West Virginia Saturday in the Friends of Coal Bowl

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Sept. 23, 2008


The Marshall Thundering Herd travels to Morgantown on Saturday to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in the annual Friends of Coal Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on the Big East network.

Television: The Big East Network - WCHS (Charleston), WOAY (Bluefield), WVFX (Clarksburg), WTOV (Wheeling), WTAP (Parkersburg), WPCW (Pittsburgh), MASN (Baltimore) and WJAL (Chambersburg, Pa.).

Internet: game telecast also available on ESPN (where available) at

Radio: The Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Radio Network (WDGG-93.7 FM, Flagship in Huntington) with Steve Cotton (play-by-play), Greg Cyrus (analyst), and Raquel Smith (sidelines) will be available on Herd All-Access through

Satellite Radio: SIRIUS Channel 123 will carry the Mountaineer Sports Network broadcast.

Herd fans invited to tailgate at Krepps Park before Marshall-WVU Game


The Marshall University Alumni Association and the Big Green Scholarship Foundation are sponsoring a joint pre-game tailgate party in Morgantown prior to the Friends of Coal Bowl Saturday, Sept. 27.


The tailgate party begins at 12:30 p.m. at Krepps Park, which is located near the WVU Coliseum, less than a mile from Puskar Stadium. Kickoff for the football game between Marshall University and West Virginia University is at 3:30 p.m. Admission to the tailgate party is $20 per person, which covers meal, soft drinks and beer, music and giveaways. Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis for $5 per car.


Music will be provided by the Angie Fletcher Band and 93.7 The DAWG will be broadcasting live from the tailgate. The first 500 people attending the event will receive free T-shirts, courtesy of The DAWG and ISP Sports.

For more information or to RSVP, call the Marshall University alumni office at (304) 696-2901.


Directions to Krepps Park: Off Interstate 79, take Exit 155. Bear right at the end of the exit ramp. Travel to the Coliseum at the top of the hill and get in the left lane. At the traffic light, turn left onto Patteson Drive and look for Marshall banners on the left to take you into Krepps Park.

Game Notes

The Friends of Coal Bowl:

West Virginia leads the all-time series between the two schools 7-0 with five of those games being played in Morgantown...Marshall and West Virginia renewed their rivalry with one game in 1997 (Marshall first game after moving to Division 1-A (now FBS) and WVU scored 14 points in the 4th quarter to pull out a 42-31 win over the Herd)...The current series is sponsored by the Friends of Coal and began in 2006 with WVU taking a 42-10 decision...last season in Huntington (WVU's first trip there since 1915), the Mountaineers erased a halftime deficit to down the Herd, 48-23...The West Virginia Coal Association is the title sponsor of the game and each year awards academic scholarships to students at both Marshall and WVU...The Mountaineers and Thundering Herd are in the third year of a seven year agreement and WVU, by virtue of its wins the last two years, has earned hosting rights for the 2009 game...Marshall will return to Morgantown in 2009 before hosting the Mountaineers again in 2010, the Herd will return to Morgantown in 2011 and 2012...both schools are playing for the Governor's Trophy that is made from West Virginia glass, coal and a carbon base.


Scouting the Mountaineers:

WVU is coming off of a 17-14 overtime loss at Big 12 member Colorado...WVU is led by Heisman Trophy candidate Pat White at quarterback who is one of the top play makers in all of college football...White leads the Mountaineers in rushing with 308 yards and two touchdowns, he has also completed 46 of 65 passes (70.8%) for 323 yards and five scores...WVU running back Noel Devine has rushed for 279 yards on 47 carries (5.8 yards per carry average)...Defensively, Quinton Andrews leads the team with 31 tackles.

Marshall-WVU Ties:

Marshall and WVU are the largest state universities and the only FBS institutions in West Virginia...WVU head coach Bill Stewart served as offensive line coach under Sonny Randle at Marshall in 1980...Mountaineer assistant head coach and safeties coach Steve Dunlap served as defensive coordinator at Marshall last season...WVU offensive line coach Dave Johnson served as an assistant at Marshall from 1997-2000 (coaching TEs, tackles and serving as recruiting coordinator).

The Last Meeting:

Marshall set a stadium record for attendance with 40,383 fans at last year's meeting in Huntington...the Thundering Herd jumped out to a 13-6 lead at halftime, before the third-ranked Mountaineers came back for a 48-23 win...the game was the first time WVU played at Marshall since 1915...Marshall's Cody Slate recorded five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown (42-yard reception) and Darius Passmore added five catches for 76 yards, including a 38-yard TD reception...Darius Marshall led the Herd in rushing with 80 yards on 11 carries...WVU was led by Steve Slaton's 146 rushing yards and two scores...Pat White added 125 yards rushing and a TD to go with 13-of-18 passing for 149 yards and two touchdowns.


The Marshall at Southern Miss Recap:

Marshall used a balanced attack and timely defense to pick up a C-USA road win at Southern Miss Saturday...Darius Passmore hauled in nine passes for 139 yards and a touchdown and added an 80-yard td run in the win...Darius Marshall rushed for a game-high 112 yards and td, while Mark Cann was 16-of-25 for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Marshall's defense limited All-Conference USA running back Damion Fletcher to 82 yards rushing and All C-USA tight end Shawn Nelson to only two catches in the game. The Marshall win marked only the 11th time Southern Miss has lost a C-USA game at home.

Clutch Performance:

Marshall true freshman kicker Tyler Warner made his collegiate debut and came through in a big way for MU at Southern Miss. Warner learned that he would be kicking in place of the injured Craig Ratanamorn just 15 minutes prior to kickoff and despite a heavy rain, the Parkersburg native managed to connect on both of his field goal attempts from 37 and 28 yards and he was a perfect 4-for-4 on PATs while handling all of the kickoffs as well. Warner handled seven kickoffs that included one touchback.

Turning the Corner:

Marshall's win over USM on Saturday put the Thundering Herd at 2-0 in C-USA play for the first time since joining the league in 2005...Marshall has now won six of its last nine games dating back to last season and five of those six wins have come in conference play...Marshall has won five consecutive home games dating back to last season and the win in Hattiesburg snapped a nine game road losing streak for the Herd...Marshall is off to its first 3-1 start since 2002.

The Aptly Named Passmore:

Marshall senior receiver Darius Passmore may be the most aptly named player in college football. The Marshall standout is off to a strong start in 2008. Passmore is averaging 118.2 receiving yards per game and has four touchdown receptions thus far. He also had five carries for 109 yards that includes an 80-yard touchdown run last week at Southern Miss. Passmore produced a career-high139 receiving yards and 215 all-purpose yards in the win at Southern Miss. His 473 receiving yards and 118.2 rypg this season leads the nation.

New Coordinators:

Marshall's offense and defense are both under the direction of new coordinators in 2008. Rick Minter takes over at Defensive Coordinator and linebackers coach, while John Shannon serves as the new Offensive Coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Both coaches are veterans that bring a wealth of experience to the Herd. Minter has had coaching stints at Notre Dame, South Carolina, Cincinnati (where he served as head coach) and Ball State. Shannon's resume includes stops at Toledo, Troy, Jackson State, Maryland, Pacific and Richmond.

Taking On Spillman:

Marshall senior free safety C.J. Spillman finished third in Conference USA and 12th in the nation with 10.92 tackles per game in 2007. He registered 131 total tackles on the year, which is the highest total by a Marshall player since Duran Smith recorded 160 stops in 2002. The standout went on to earn second-team All-Conference USA honors as a junior and was recognized by league coaches as a preseason All-CUSA pick this season. Spillman enters the West Virginia game with 28 tackles on the season. He recorded a key pass breakup and forced a fumble in the win over Memphis.  

One Great Slate Returns:

Cody Slate has established himself as one of the top tight ends in the nation. In his first two seasons he amassed 1,502 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He has led Marshall in receiving for the last two years and is a Mackey Award Watch List selection. Slate earned honorable mention All-America honors from both and College Football as a sophomore in 2007. Last year his 5.5 receptions per game and 68.17 receiving yards per game ranked third in the nation among all tight ends. The Marshall standout had only two catches for 22 yards against Illinois State before leaving the contest with an injury that forced him to miss the Wisconsin game and the Memphis. He returned against Southern Miss to contribute four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. He also added a 35 yard run against the Golden Eagles.

He is Back:

Marshall's 2006 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year Albert McClellan is back. He recorded 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks as a sophomore en route to first-team all-conference and All-America honors in 2006. He suffered a knee injury in preseason camp last year that forced him to miss all of the 2007 campaign. He currently has 14 tackles, two sacks, a pass break up and two hurries.

He is (Darius) Marshall:

Sophomore running back Darius Marshall is building on a strong freshman season. He led the Thundering Herd in rushing last season with 631 yards en route to earning All-Conference USA Freshman Team honors. Marshall rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown in the win at USM to give him his third 100-yard game of the year. Marshall has rushed for 417 yards and four scores this season for a 104.2 yards per game average.

Three Back Attack:

Sophomore running back Darius Marshall has plenty of company in the Marshall backfield with senior Chubb Small and redshirt-freshman Terrell Edwards. All three scored touchdowns in Marshall's season opener with Small gaining 32 yards on three carries and Edwards adding 48 yards on two carries.

Yes He Cann:

Marshall redshirt-freshman quarterback Mark Cann made his collegiate debut against Illinois State and through his first four games has been solid, displaying poise and a strong arm. Cann has completed 61-of-114 passes for 824 yards and five touchdowns with only three interceptions. Cann was 16-of-25 for 228 yards and two scores and no interceptions in the win at Southern Miss.

Long Distance:

Mark Cann's 88-yard touchdown pass to Darius Passmore against Illinois State was the longest pass completion for the Thundering Herd since Stephen Galbraith hooked-up with Lanier Washington on Sept. 30, 2000 against Buffalo.

Solid Protection:

Through three games Marshall has not allowed a quarterback sack. The Thundering Herd is one of only five schools not to do so through their first three games. Southern Miss ended Marshall's "sackless streak" with two on Saturday in Hattiesburg. Despite this, MU still ranks 9th nationally in sacks allowed with .5 per game.

A Special Addition:

Junior Craig Ratanamorn is off to a strong start in his collegiate football career. Ratanamorn was a goalkeeper on the Marshall soccer team at this time last season and he has made the transition to the gridiron opting to focus on football for the rest of his collegiate career. He connected on his first field goal attempt (a 31-yarder) in the win over Memphis and is 9-for-9 on point after tries. He also delivered an impressive 31-yard punt from field goal formation that was downed on the Memphis 1-yardline, helping Marshall to the 17-16 win. He did not play at USM due to a nagging injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Starting Off on the Right Foot:

Marshall true freshman punter Kase Whitehead is off to a great start with his collegiate career. Whitehead is averaging 38.7 yards per punt and 11 of his 23 punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line. In addition, 11 of them have been fair catches and most impressively Marshall's opponents have only been able to return two of his kicks for a 9.5 yards per return average.

Strong Support:

Marshall averaged a school-record 30,029 fans per game in 2007. The previous record of 28,673 fans per home game was set during the undefeated season of 1999. In addition, a school-record 22,000 season ticket packages were sold in 2007 and the school-record for single game attendance of 40,383 was set during the Friends of Coal Bowl with West Virginia University.