Herd To Host Trojans For Homecoming
Homecoming is a time for alumni and friends of the University to return to the site of their past glories. To see old friends and relive old times.
Part of the tradition of Homecoming in America is the football game. Normally, teams try to select opponents for Homecoming that appear to be vulnerable -- ripe for easy picking. Not the case this year for Marshall, as a well-tested and talented Troy State team visits for Homecoming 2002.
The theme for Homecoming at Marshall this year follows the lead of the theme for the 2002 football season -- Magnificent! No single person embodies that theme more than Marshall’s senior quarterback Byron Leftwich.
Last week, against MAC East Division foe Buffalo, Leftwich put on a passing clinic not seen in college football since the days of the wide-open passing attacks of the Houston Cougars in the late 1980s. In just one half of action Leftwich completed 28 of 35 pass attempts for 447 yards and four touchdowns in lifting Marshall to a 52-0 lead at the break.
Instead of leaving Leftwich in the game to go after a host of school, conference and national records, Herd coach Bob Pruett let the younger players see action in the second half, looking toward the future.
Leftwich enters this week’s game needing 326 yards passing to become just the 20th player in NCAA Division I-A history to reach 10,000 career passing yards.
But getting those yards against a Troy State defense that ranks 11th in Division I-A in pass defense will not be easy. Despite their 2-5 record this year, the Trojans have given more than a few good teams all they want on the field.
Just last Saturday the Trojans saw their bid for a second consecutive win over Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State fall just short, falling 11-8. Troy State opened the season with a more than respectable 31-16 loss at Nebraska. Other road trips have included Iowa State and Missouri.
The Herd, however, has some pretty impressive historical numbers on its side. Marshall has won nine straight Homecoming games, including the last five, since joining Division I-A, by an average margin of 34.6-8.4. Marshall has also won 12 straight overall at home, dating back to the 2000 season. In addition, the Herd has never lost to Troy State, having won once during the 1993 playoffs, and again in 1998.
This game is the first of three scheduled dates
between the Herd and Trojans, with a return game in Troy, Ala., set for next Sept. 27.
The weekend of activities around Marshall includes the induction of the 2002 Class of the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame. A banquet for the honorees is scheduled for Friday evening in the Don Morris Room of the Marshall Student Center. Tickets for the banquet are available through the Athletic Ticket Office for $20 each.
The new Hall of Famers will be Reggie Giles (football & basketball), Lee Ann Parsley (basketball and track), Troy Brown (football), Joe Johns (track), Jim Roberts (football) and Harry “Cy” Young (baseball, football and track).
The game between the Herd and Trojans will be televised by the ISP/Thundering Herd Network locally on WSAZ-TV. The game will also be available through ESPN Plus and ESPN GamePlan.