GMAC Bowl Notes
It was an ESPN “Instant Classic” and may go down as one of the greatest bowl games ever played. The 2001 GMAC Bowl was one for the record books and the 2002 edition in Mobile promises to be equally exciting.
The Thundering Herd makes their second straight appearance in the GMAC Bowl and will face the Louisville Cardinals from Conference USA. The two teams last met in the 1998 Motor City Bowl, with Marshall taking a 49-45 victory.
Both teams feature high-powered quarterbacks, with Marshall’s Byron LEftwich gunning for 12,000 career passing yards and Louisville’s Dave Ragone nearing his second 3,000 yards season.
The Herd comes into the game off a dramatic victory over Toledo in the 2002 Mid-American Conference title game. The lead changed hands six times in the second half of that game, but it was Leftwich who had the final big play, hitting junior Darius Watts for a 40-yard touchdown with just 49 seconds remaining to secure the victory. With the TD catch, Watts became the MAC’s all-time touchdown receptions leader with 36.
Leftwich, who already owns the MAC career marks for passing yards and total offense, will get to add to those totals this year. For the first time the NCAA is allowing post-season bowl game stats to count toward season and career totals. Leftwich has prospered in his two bowl starts, throwing for 797 yards and five TDs against C-USA foes Cincinnati and East Carolina. Counting his numbers from those two games would move him into striking distance for number two on the Division I-A career passing yardage list.
2002 GMAC Bowl Week Schedule
GREAT SOUTHERN WOOD Basketball Luncheon
(Friday, Dec. 13, 2002, 12:00 pm)
Special guest speaker, Charles “Lefty” Driesell, will address an expected crowd of over 500 people consisting of bowl sponsors, participating basketball team members and guests.
ALABAMA POWER COMPANY
Governor Don Siegelman’s Welcoming Reception
(Friday, Dec. 13, 2002, 7:00 pm)
Mobile-native and Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman hosts a welcoming reception at the Government Plaza Building in downtown Mobile. Invitation Only
GODFATHER’S PIZZA Players Hospital Visit
(Saturday, Dec. 14, 2002, 9:30 am)
Players from both visiting teams will visit the children staying at USA Women’s & Children’s hospital
COORS Classic Basketball Doubleheader
(Saturday, Dec. 14, 2002, 5:00 pm)
This year’s competitors: Alabama, Georgia State, Bowling Green and South Alabama
KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS
Team Luncheon & Tour on the Battleship USS Alabama
(Sunday, Dec. 15, 2002, 11:00 am)
Each participating football team, traveling party and invited guests will enjoy a lunch on the famous World War II battleship
MOBILE AREA SPORTS COMMISSION AMF Bowling Challenge
(Sunday, Dec 15, 2002)
Players from both participating universities will literally go bowling at the AMF Florida Bowl for the GMAC Bowl First Annual Bowling Championship
ALLTEL Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast
(Monday, Dec. 16, 2002, 7:00 am)
Special guest speaker, Universtiy of Miami Head Football Coach Larry Coker, will address members of each participating bowl team, city officials, corporate sponsors and local FCA groups. A limited number of tickets will be available to the public. A crowd of more than 900 people is expected.
WINTZELL’S OYSTER HOUSE Wives Day Out
(Monday, Dec. 16, 2002, 8:30 am)
Special day for the wives and spouses of the many coaches and conference staff
FUJIFILM-GMAC Bowl Learning Through Reading Program
(Monday, Dec. 16, 2002, 9:00 am)
Mobile area 4th grade students are invited to the Mobile Convention Center to meet and talk to the players of both teams competing in the GMAC Bowl. Players will focus on the importance of reading and staying in school. The 10 winners of the reading program will be announced and presented with their award.
MOBILE GREYHOUND PARK Media Night
(Monday, Dec. 16, 2002, 7:00 pm)
The 50-75 media personalities from across the country, covering the GMAC Bowl will be treated to a welcoming reception.
GMAC FINANCIAL SERVICES Mayor’s Luncheon
(Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2002, 12:00 pm)
Lee Corso, will be the featured speaker. Mobile Mayor Mike Dow will speak and honor nationally known Americans. Last year former Chicago Bear and New Orleans Saints Head Coach, Mike Ditka spoke. Previous years speakers have included NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, and baseball great Pete Rose.
GREER’S FOOD TIGER Mardi Gras Parade
(Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2002)
A Mardi Gras parade will be held in the streets of downtown Mobile starting at 6:30 P.M. 16 Mardi Gras societies will be represented with floats and throws for the crowd. Several college and high school bands will join the parade. More than 50,000 people are expected to pack the streets of downtown Mobile for this early rendition of the Mardi Gras season.
Mardi Gras Street Party and Pep Rallies
(Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2002)
Immediately following the parade, the party will move to the Mobile Convention Center for music, food, and fireworks! Both participating universities will hold their official pep rallies. A crowd of 40-50,000 is expected for the street party.
COORS Alumni Golf Tournament,
Presented by Edwin Watts Golf Shop
(Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002, 8:30 am)
Alumni groups from the competing Bowl teams are invited to play in a golf tournament at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove.
(Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002)
A national television audience will tune in to ESPN2 at 8:00 pm Eastern/7:00 p.m. Central for the fourth annual GMAC Bowl between Marshall and Louisville.