Monday, September 13, 2010
We Are Marshall (spoiler!)
This post is about (23) West Virginia vs. Marshall. If you missed this game (and can stand watching a game even if you already know how it ends - 'cause I'm gonna tell you how it ends) go watch it on ESPN3. It was a classic.
Only 9 times, dating back to 1911, have these two Universities met before. And while some call this game an in-state rivalry, Marshall has yet to win. So there's some history to this game.
In addition, Doc Holiday (yes, that's his real name), the head coach for Marshall, was an assistant coach at West Virginia just last year. He said coaching at Marshall has been a dream job of his since he was young, so when he got the call, he jumped on it.
Further, it was 40 years ago this year since the Marshall tragedy - when the plane carrying the entire Marshall football team, coaching staff and all, crashed on the way home from a game, killing all 75 aboard. What really brought that to remembrance though, was the fact that Molly Jane Tolley, the wife of the then Head Coach who died in that plane crash, was attending Friday's game - the first football game she's attended since that night 40 years ago. She was standing at center field for the coin toss at the start of the game. This game meant something to the Marshall faithful.
Now on to the game...
Marshall surprisingly came out very strong, scoring on their first drive, only using up 2:13 from the clock. They continued to play well, leading 14-6 after 3 quarters. I'd forgotten that Noel Devine opted to stay at W. Virg. and play college football. And I forgot how fast he is. At the same time, Marshall actually has a few future NFLers on their defense. It really was a great game to watch, especially with 40,000 people looking for an upset.
Now, to me, it seemed like it was perhaps a conditioning issue, but the Marshall defense was starting to look tired in the 4th. After Marshall scored early in the 4th, going up 21-6, they started giving up major yardage to the Hokies, letting them get in the endzone twice more, getting the 2-point conversion on the second score to tie the game with 0:20 left on the clock. In overtime, West Virginia scored first on a field goal. Marshall, who had been leading the game all night, got in a 4th and 7 situation and lined up for a 30 yd field goal... and missed. West Virginia 24, Marshall 21.
I'm not gonna lie, I felt for the kicker, for the team, for their fans, and for Mrs. Tolley. This game meant a lot on Friday night, and as the game went on and Marshall could smell the upset, it meant even more. Add the fact that it went into overtime, and this game really was a classic.
See the highlights here.
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