Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

December 24, 2013

Marshall embarks on bowl trip

BLUEFIELD — Five buses departed Huntington at 10:30 a.m. on Monday morning, eastbound with Washington, D.C., as their destination.

The buses formed the Marshall University Thundering Herd caravan, bound for the Renaissance Hotel, their headquarters for Friday afternoon’s Military Bowl.

The bowl game, to be played in Annapolis, Md., on the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy, pits the Herd against the Maryland Terrapins. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. ESPN will televise the action.

A reception for the Marshall players, coaches and the rest of the contingent was set for Monday evening at the hotel.

The Marshall roster includes Richlands High graduate Devon Johnson, Bluefield High grad Joe Woodrum and Woodrow Wilson High alumnus Clint Van Horn, an offensive lineman. Johnson and Woodrum are tight ends.

Four current Marshall players are from the state of Maryland and six others are from Washington or close-by areas of northern Virginia.

Marshall’s last bowl effort was a 20-10 victory over Florida International two years ago in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla. Marshall is 7-3 in bowl games, beginning with a 7-0 loss to Catawba in the Tangerine Bowl on New Year’s Day 1948.

The Thundering Herd has never played Maryland in football, or even competed in the sport in the state.

However, MU head coach Doc Holliday has been on the sidelines as an assistant coach 25 times for games with the Terrapins according to the Marshall sports information office.

While Holliday was at West Virginia, the Mountaineers went 11-9 against Maryland. As a North Carolina State assistant, the Wolfpack was 1-4 versus the Terps.

This year’s Marshall team went 9-3 in the regular season, capturing the East Division of Conference USA. In the conference championship game on Dec. 7, Rice defeated Marshall 41-24.

Associated Press College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo predicted a 49-48 Maryland victory last Thursday in an overview of this season’s bowl games.

Each summary included a paragraph beginning “Why watch?” In the case of the Military Bowl, Russo wrote, “Marshall plays fast, has a good offense and a bad defense. The possibility of 49-48 game is always high when the Thundering Herd play, and the Terps can put up points when QB C.J. Brown is healthy.”

Friday’s game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium will be the first bowl game to be staged in Annapolis. The five previous editions of this bowl game were played at RFK Stadium in Washington. For its initial two years, the event was the EagleBank Bowl.

— Contact Tom Bone at

tbone@bdtonline.com

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