Football Hosts Southern Miss Saturday in Key East Division Game


Cody Slate

Cody Slate

Nov. 11, 2009

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Marshall hosts Southern Miss in a key Conference USA East Division game Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m.

The Thundering Herd (5-4, 3-2 C-USA) and the Golden Eagles (5-4, 3-2 C-USA) are seeking a coveted sixth win and conditional bowl eligibility Saturday. Both teams are tied for second in the C-USA East and will be fighting to keep pace with division leader East Carolina (5-4, 4-1).

Marshall has the opportunity to post its first winning season since 2003. Currently, only Houston is bowl eligible among C-USA schools with a record of 8-1. Marshall is one of five C-USA schools with a record of 5-4. The others are East Carolina, Southern Miss, UCF and SMU. Marshall plays Southern Miss on Saturday and faces SMU next week before closing the regular season out with a trip to UTEP.

The Golden Eagles feature a high-powered offensive attack that ranks #2 in scoring offense in C-USA with 33.9 points per game. Southern Miss is led by a host of dangerous play makers. Senior running back Damion Fletcher is Southern Miss' all-time leading rusher. So far this season, the Golden Eagle standout is averaging 91.8 rushing yards per game and has eight rushing touchdowns to his credit. Receivers Gerald Baptiste and DeAndre Brown both average 13.2 yards per catch and have combined for 806 receiving yards and nine scores this season. Defensively, Southern Miss' Korey Williams leads the Golden Eagles with a team-high 85 total tackles and five sacks.

Marshall boasts the #1 scoring defense in Conference USA, allowing only 21 points per game and only 15 points per game in conference play with playmakers such as safety Ashton Hall, linebacker Mario Harvey and defensive end Albert McClellan leading the way.

Offensively, Marshall has its share of dangerous weapons as well. Marshall running back Darius Marshall ranks fifth in the nation in rushing with 129 yards. The junior standout has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark this season and has 1,032 yards and a career-high 11 touchdowns. Marshall tight end Cody Slate is a candidate for the John Mackey Award and leads all NCAA FBS tight ends in receiving this year with 48 catches for 582 yards.

GAME DAY INFORMATION

MEMORIAL SERVICE INFORMATION: Saturday is the 39th anniversary of the Marshall plane crash. The chartered DC-9 was returning to Huntington following a 17-14 loss at East Carolina earlier that day when the plane went down on approach to Huntington's Tri-State airport. All 75 persons on board perished. Victims included Marshall football players, coaches, staff and supporters, along with the crew of five. The tragedy is considered the worst sports-related disaster in American history. Every year the Marshall community remembers those who lost their lives with a memorial service at the Memorial Student Center Plaza. This year's service is scheduled for Noon on Saturday and, in keeping with tradition, the water that flows through the Memorial Fountain will be turned off for the winter during the service.

Joe Gillette, a 1973 Marshall graduate now living in Atlanta, will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers at the memorial service will include Marshall President Dr. Stephen J. Kopp, Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick, Marshall Alumni Association President Nancy Campbell, Student Body President Shawn Hornbuckle, Student Body Vice President Lashawna Sampson and Maurice Cooley, director of Marshall's Center for African American Students' Programs.

The service will conclude with the traditional placing of the memorial wreath at the Memorial Fountain. The fountain will be silenced after the laying of the wreath, and remain silent until next spring.

TELEVISION: Saturday's game will not be televised.

INTERNET: Live video of Saturday's game will be streamed for Herd All-Access subscribers through Herdzone.com.

RADIO: The game will be carried across the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Network with Steve Cotton play-by-play, Greg Cyrus analysis and Rocky Smith sideline reports.

MILITARY/SERVICE APPRECIATION DAY: Military service members, police officers and fire fighters can obtain tickets for only $15 when they present their valid identification cards at the Cam Henderson Center Ticket Office or at the stadium box office (limit 4 tickets per ID).

YOUTH FOOTBALL DISCOUNT: All youth league football players and cheerleaders who wear their uniforms to the game are eligible for $15 tickets at the stadium box office.

THUNDER WALK: The pre-game Thunder Walk is scheduled to begin approximately at 2:30 p.m. in front of Hodges Hall on the Marshall campus. Members of the Marching Thunder and cheerleaders will lead the Marshall football team on its pre-game walk to the stadium past the first year residence halls and in front of the new recreation center before crossing 20th Street (Marshall Memorial Blvd) and leading the team through the West Lot into the Shewey Building.