Dec. 6, 2009
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick announced that the Thundering Herd football team accepted a bowl invitation to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. MU will play Ohio University at 1 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN.
"We are excited to take part in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl," Hamrick said. "We have accepted this bowl invitation for our seniors who have not had this opportunity; actually none of our current players have represented Marshall in a bowl game. The team will get three weeks of additional practice along with gaining national television exposure [ESPN]."
MU finished the regular season 6-6 and will partake in a postseason game for the first time since the 2004 Fort Worth Bowl, when the Herd lost to Cincinnati 32-14.
"Number one is we are excited and ecstatic to go to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in the Motor City of Detroit," interim coach Rick Minter said. "Mike [Hamrick] promised the coaching staff and players he would do all he could to have us play in a bowl game and we thank him for this opportunity. Now we are going to take the ball and run with it. It is a great reward for the seniors and the younger players realize the investment we have in them. This is a great day for Marshall football and we hope the fans will come out on Saturday [Dec. 26] and watch the Herd play in the Motor City."
It marks the fifth time that MU has played in the bowl, participating each season from 1997 to 2000, earning victories against Louisville (48-29), BYU (21-3) and Cincinnati (25-14).
Ohio finished the regular season 9-4, 7-1 MAC on the season. The Bobcats lost the Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship to Central Michigan, 20-10, on Friday, Dec. 4 at Ford Field.
"We had a team meeting tonight and there was a lot of tension as we were waiting to hear the news," junior captain Lee Smith said. "No one on this team has ever played in a bowl game and all our hard work and all the 6am practices have paid off. Everybody burst out when we found out we were going to Detroit, and it was a good moment for Marshall football. These seniors have left their stamp and hopefully we will be going to bowl games for the next couple of years."
MU holds a 29-17-6 advantage in the all-time series against Ohio, winning the last four meetings and eight of nine. The last time the two teams squared off was Oct. 9, 2004 in Athens, Ohio, with the Herd winning 16-13.
"It feels really good for the players and coaches to get back to a bowl," junior Brian Anderson said. "I hope our fans come out and support us in Detroit."
The Herd is one of six Conference USA teams that have accepted bowl invitations, including: East Carolina, Houston, SMU, Southern Miss and UCF.
Tickets will go on sale immediately. For additional information contact the Marshall Ticket Office at 1-800-THE-HERD or log onto www.HerdZone.com.