BOGACZYK: Tindal's Pick-Six Has Very Special Meaning
The Word on the Herd-Oct. 22, 2014
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Because it was his first career interception for Marshall – and he turned it into his first career touchdown – Corey Tindal’s fourth-quarter pick of FIU quarterback Alex McGough last Saturday night in Miami was momentous.
But it was more than two firsts for the Herd redshirt sophomore cornerback. It happened "in the neighborhood" for the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resident, who had more than 30 family members and close friends in the seats at FIU Stadium … and one more thing.
When Tindal got to the end zone, he looked to the sky. Despite his teammates joining him in celebration, Tindal was alone in his thoughts.
"That was my Mama, man… that was for her," Tindal said minutes after the game.
Last Friday night, when so many south Florida family members related to Herd players from the area congregated in the team’s hotel headquarters to meet with their Herd sons, nephews and cousins, Tindal’s mother wasn’t there.
It was the one-year anniversary of her death. Velma Tindal died suddenly of a brain aneurysm on Oct. 17, 2013. She was only 44. One year and one night later, one of her sons played a game he said he will never forget.
Two of Tindal’s uncles came to the hotel that Friday night to visit.
"They’ve been my father figure," Tindal said after the Herd’s Tuesday practice. "I didn’t have a daddy part of my life, and they’ve been my father figure my whole life, so that was really great they were there."
The next night -- as the nationally ranked Herd (7-0, 3-0) continued to roll with a 45-13 win -- his thoughts were singular, Tindal said.
"Everybody loves family, and it’s a wonderful feeling having them there, and the kind of game I had, I was just proud they were here to see me play," the 5-foot-9, 179-pound Tindal said. "It was emotional when I thought through it before the game for me.
"But I fought through it, just did it, and I played well. I played well for her."
Tindal finished with seven unassisted tackles and a pass breakup in addition to his "pick-six." In the Herd’s seven games, he has 27 tackles, a fumble recovery, has defended seven passes and has two quarterback hurries.
Last season, Tindal had seen his mother when the Herd won a 24-23 thriller on Justin Haig’s last-second field goal at Florida Atlantic on Oct. 12 – Tindal’s 22nd birthday. Velma Tindal died five days later. Her son played in the Herd’s loss at Middle Tennessee State on Oct. 24, just seven days after his mother’s death.
After the Herd flew back from the game, a few hours later Tindal and Mark Gale, Marshall’s assistant athletic director for football operations, boarded another flight to go to the funeral in Fort Lauderdale.
Tindal returned and finished the season in which – as a freshman starter at nickel – he was named the Conference USA co-Freshman of the Year. He had 61 tackles, two recovered fumbles and six pass breakups in the Herd’s 10-win season that was capped by a Military Bowl victory over Maryland.
Tindal’s mother missed experiencing that success of her son, too.
"It was tough coming back to play last season," Tindal said, "because you lose your motivation. But you think about it, and I was doing what she wanted me to do -- go to school and play football. It’s hard, but I knew what she wanted, so I went out there thought about her and played for her.
"I do everything for her, all for her. She was always behind me, and I know she’s watching over me."
One of Tindal’s four brothers, Willie, is a senior quarterback at Division II Southwest Baptist (Mo.), where in his last two games he has broken the Great Lakes Valley Conference single-game passing record with 477 and 479 yards (and seven touchdowns). A cousin, Derrick Tindal, is at No. 2 as a freshman corner on the Wisconsin depth chart.
Tindal has two sisters, too. And now spending most of his time at cornerback, Tindal pushes himself as one of the Herd team leaders. He is a captain for this week’s home game against Florida Atlantic, the second time this season he’s been chosen for that role by coach.
He sat out his first year at Marshall, enrolling in January 2012, but has worked hard enough that he is on schedule to graduate in 3 1/2 years – in the summer of 2015.
Again, Tindal’s focus is rooted in one source of strength.
"I love the sport, and I keep my mind focused," Tindal said. "I know every day I’m doing this and going to class I’m making my Mama happy. I’ll graduate next summer … business management. I want to be a CEO of my own company one day. I’ve always been an entrepreneur, so I want to make something happen."
He did that at FIU Stadium, and although it was his first college touchdown, Tindal said he knew where he was going on his 30-yard return. After all, he was a running back, too, at Boyd Anderson High back home in Florida.
"I saw the whole thing developing," Tindal said. "I saw the whole thing. I saw (the FIU quarterback’s) eyes. I knew he was going somewhere over there. I saw the ball leave his hands, and it came right to me. I’m glad our coaches put me in the right position to make that play.
"When I get the ball, I know what I’m going to do with it," Tindal said. "I just ran, and when I got there, it was just, ‘Man … Wow! And I just looked up, and I see you.’"
He didn’t have to explain who.