Oct. 24, 2007
Marshall vs. Rice Game Notes
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Marshall will celebrate one of the oldest homecoming traditions in college football when it plays host to the Rice Owls on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and the game will be televised by CSTV.
Marshall first played a "coming home" or "homecoming" football game on Nov. 28, 1895. Newspaper accounts of the game against Kingsbury High School, that ended in a 0-0 tie, refer to the game and mention "coming home" weekend with activities surrounding it. Since that time, Marshall has played a homecoming contests every year except during the war years of 1918 (WWI) and 1941, 1943-45 (WW II).
In those 105 games, Marshall has a record of 54-43-8 (.552). The Thundering Herd has also won 14 straight homecoming contests with the last homecoming loss coming at the hands of Appalachian State (37-34) in 1992.
The Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame will also induct its newest members at the annual Hall of Fame banquet on Friday night. Mike Bartrum (baseball and football), Ron Darby (football), Aaron Ferguson (baseball and football), Rodney Holden (men's basketball), Frank Huffman (football), Mike Kaufman (baseball), Billy Lyon (football) and John Taft (men's basketball) will be inducted into the Hall. All were elected in 2007 except Darby and Taft, who were previously elected and recently located. They will join this year's outstanding group, while the late Huffman will be represented by his brother, Stan, who also played at Marshall. Also, Byron Leftwich (football) was elected this year, however he will be inducted when his career with the Atlanta Falcons in the National Football League allows.
This year brings an unfamiliar foe to Joan C. Edwards Stadium for homecoming. The Rice Owls and the Thundering Herd have never met on the football field. The two schools joined Conference USA in 2005 and due to the two division alignment will be meeting for the first time on Saturday.
Rice is coming off of a 38-35 setback at home against Memphis, but does own an impressive 31-29 road win at Southern Miss. The Owls feature one of the nation's top receivers in Jarrett Dillard. The Rice standout recorded three touchdown receptions against Memphis and now has seven on the year to go with his team-high 33 catches and 486 receiving yards.
Marshall is coming off of a hard-fought 33-24 home loss to C-USA East Division favorite Southern Miss. The Thundering Herd battled back from a 20-0 first half deficit to cut the lead to 26-24 with just under 10 minutes to play, before a long Southern Miss scoring drive put the game out of reach at the 1:21 mark.
The Thundering Herd is getting strong offensive production from sophomore tight end Cody Slate and junior wideout Darius Passmore. Slate ranks among the top pass-catching tight ends in the nation with 39 catches for 535 yards and five touchdowns. The sophomore from Chipley, Fla., is averaging 76.4 yards receiving per game and has scored touchdowns in three straight and five of the last six games. Passmore has given Marshall a deep threat option out wide. The standout speedster has 38 catches for 521 yards and five touchdowns to his credit.
Senior quarterback Bernard Morris continues to build on a strong senior campaign as well. He has thrown for a career-high 1,876 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.