Annual Friends of Coal Bowl Set for Saturday


Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson

Oct. 14, 2009

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Marshall travels to WVU on Saturday for the annual Friends of Coal Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.

Television Information: The game will be televised by the Big East Network on ESPN Gameplan; WCHS (Charleston/Huntington); WOAY (Bluefield); WVFX (Clarksburg); WTOV (Wheeling); WTAP (Parkersburg); WPCW (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and WJAL (Chambersburg, Pa.) with John Sanders (pxp) and Danny Kanell (analyst).

Internet Feed: The game will be available streamed on ESPN360.com where available.

Radio: The Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Network with Steve Cotton play-by-play.

Big Win in the Big Easy: Marshall improved to 4-2 and 2-1 in C-USA play with an impressive 31-10 win over Tulane last weekend in New Orleans. The Marshall defense forced four turnovers while Darius Marshall found the endzone twice and Brian Anderson completed 18-of-22 passes in the game. Marshall has now won back-to-back road games for the first time since October of 2004 when the Herd picked up consecutive road wins at Ohio and Kent State.

An Efficient Effort: Quarterback Brain Anderson put forth his most efficient effort of the season against Tulane. The junior completed his first seven pass attempts of the game en route to an 18-22 day with a score. In the second quarter, Anderson manufactured a 99-yard scoring drive, which gave the Herd the lead for good. He completed 5 of 6 passes for 93 yards on the 99-yard drive.

West Virginia and Marshall: The Mountaineers have won all eight meetings against the Thundering Herd. Six of those meetings have taken place in Morgantown while two have been played in Huntington. Last year, WVU was on the winning end of a 27-3 decision in Morgantown. The series dates back to 1911 and the teams in 1914, 1915 and 1923 and did not play again until 1997. The 1997 game was Marshall's first game after moving to Division I-A status and saw Marshall come from behind to take a lead late in the game, before falling 42-31. West Virginia's two major university's would not play again until the Friends of Coal Bowl was born in 2006. WVU won at home 42-10 in 2006, posted a come-from-behind 48-23 win in Huntington in 2007 and took a 27-3 win a year ago at Mountaineer Field.

Tracking The Mountaineers: WVU enters the game with a record of 4-1 following a 34-13 win at Syracuse last weekend. Running back Noel Devine leads the team with 126.2 rushing yards per game, a total that puts him at No. 3 in the NCAA FBS national rankings. Quarterback Jarrett Brown has been efficient all season, completing 68.8% of his passes for an average of 238 yards per game. Jock Sanders is the top receiving threat for WVU. He has averaged 78.8 yards per game and has hauled in two touchdown scores. Defensively, WVU is led by J.T. Thomas' 32 tackles.

A Top Running Back Matchup: On Saturday, two of the top three running backs in the nation will square off. Darius Marshall's 147.40 rushing yards per game ranks second nationally, while Noel Devine's average of 126.20 YPG is third. Both are behind Ryan Mathews of Fresno State, who has put up 148.20 yards per game on the ground. Darius Marshall is also among the national leaders in all purpose yards. The junior has averaged 211.00 all purpose yards per contest, second in the country behind Torrey Smith of Maryland, who has averaged 236.67. Marshall's Darius Marshall is coming off of a 98 yard, two touchdown performance at Tulane.

MU's Mountain State Natives: Marshall's roster features 15 West Virginia natives and several of them are significant contributors. Charleston native James Burkes is a starter along the defensive line, wide receiver Aaron Dobson from South Charleston is a true freshman seeing signifcant time, and defensive end Demetrius Thompson from Charleston has six tackles to his credit this season. Marshall lost Huntington native John Saunders, the starter at free safety, to an injury earlier this year.

Coach Stewart's Marshall Ties: WVU Head Coach Bill Stewart is no stranger to the Marshall football family. He is actually a member of it. Stewart served as the offensive line coach at Marshall in 1980 under then head coach Sonny Randle. Stewart was part of what has turned out to be a pretty impressive staff. Along with Stewart who now leads the Mountaineer program, the 1980 Thundering Herd coaching staff included linebackers coach Jim Grobe (Head Coach Wake Forest), offensive coordinator Jim Cavanaugh (assistant/recruiting coordinator at Virginia Tech), and secondary coach Bob Pruett (former Marshall head coach).

A Quicker Start: Last weekend against Tulane, the Herd scored it first opening quarter touchdown of the season. Darius Marshall scored his first of two touchdowns against the Green Wave with 2:47 remaining in the first quarter to end the drought. Two weeks prior to that at Memphis, the Herd scored a first-quarter field goal, marking the first points the team had scored int he first quarter to that point. All told, Marshall posted 14 points in the first quarter at Tulane. Prior to Saturday, Marshall had only scored three points in the first quarter this season.