The Countdown Continues

The World Cup has come and pretty much gone, the Greenbrier Classic is over, and the Major League Baseball All Star Break is upon us. Soon, the only thing in the near future is college football players reporting to camp, and the football season beginning. That happens in just 52 days. The Herd will travel to Miami to begin the 2014 campaign.

Today, the key number will be that 52.

First, a look at the 2014 roster. As of right now, Marshall has not one, but two players wearing number 52. One player has not seen much action as of yet, and is still battling to get on the depth chart. That player is defensive tackle/end Malcolm Strong.

The second player is a player more Herd fans know about. He is known to many fans and teammates simply as, “The Big Cheese.” Blake Brooks. Brooks has had an interesting journey starting his career at the division 2 level before transferring to Marshall. Coming in as a defensive tackle, then moved to offense, then defense and finally back to offense. As a former walk on he is now entrenched as a starter who will have two years left to shine at left guard.

Brooks is from South Charleston, High School, just about 45 minutes away from campus. He played four games last year, but really flourished late. As the team was practicing for the Military Bowl, he performed so well that he played multiple possessions in the game at left guard. His play has allowed the Herd to move last years left guard, Sebastion Johansson, to left tackle.

Now we will blast back to the past and look at the years 1952 for obvious reason, and 1962, as that is 52 years ago.

First, a look at the year 1952. Marshall was coming off of a solid winning season in 1951. Head coach Pete Pederson was in his third season. The 1952 season saw the Herd put up two wins, seven losses, and two ties. This would be Pederson’s third and final year at Marshall. The year started off with the Herd winning two of hits first four games, but they would not win again. This four game stretch included a heartbreaking loss to Virginia Tech, 19 – 14.

Marshall’s only wins were over Morehead State and John Carroll, they tied Youngstown State and Ohio University.

The Herd’s offensive leaders were as follows:

Rushing – Len Hellyer – 109 carries for 498 yards

Passing – Ogden Thomas – 57 completions on 129 attempts, for 935 yards. He had 7 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. To put the 57 completions into perspective in today’s game, Rakeem Cato has the single game record for completions with 45 against Purdue.

Receiving – Jim Swierczek – Swierczek had 49 receptions for 551 yards and 9 touchdowns, nearly all of the Herd’s receiving stats.

In 1962, Marshall was in the middle of a not very memorable run. Head Coach Charlie Snyder led the Herd to a 4 – 6 record, which included an 0 – 5 record in the Mid American Conference. Marshall’s wins were over Findlay, Morehead State, Xavier and Butler. Marshall was shut out three times.

The teams leaders were:

Rushing – James Brown, Brown had 75 carries for 295 yards and 3 touchdowns

Passing – Bob Hamlin – Hamlin completed 89 passes on 185 attempts for 1,104 yards, four touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Receiving – James Cure, Cure had 46 catches for 666 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cure was a sophomore who would go on to lead the team in receiving numbers for three consecutive seasons.

Other Notes on 1952 and 1962

Len Hellyer, the leading rusher in 1952, replaced running back Ed Prelaz. Most Marshall Alumni who had Health class at Marshall, most likely had Dr. Prelaz. He could tell some stories.

Jim Swierczek in a member of the Marshall Hall of Fame, he was inducted in 1987.

James Cure is also a member of the Marshall Hall of Fame, he was inducted in 1984.

Larry Coyer played for the Herd in 1962. He led the team with four interceptions and was also Marshall’s leading punt returner. Coyer was inducted into the Marshall Hall of Fame in 1987.

The win over Morehead State in 1962 actually took place in Ashland, Kentucky.

Stay tuned to as we continue the countdown.

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