47 Days Until Kickoff

July is rolling on, two weeks deep into the month and players across the country are just a couple of weeks away from their first practice. The opening dates on the schedule are also drawing near.

As we enter Monday morning, Marshall is just 47 days away from battling the Redhawks from Miami. With ticket renewals going strong, and reseating all the buzz, its time for Herdhaven.com to take a look at the number 47.

First a look at who will be wearing the green and white number 47 this upcoming season. I would like to introduce you to Devon Johnson. You may remember Johnson’s dominating performance last year to end the season at home against ECU. Johnson scored touchdowns via the air and the ground. He was bouncing over and running through defenders on nearly every play.

As the season ended, Johnson had put himself right in the mix to battle for the number one tight end spot vacated by departing senior Gator Hoskins. Johnson ended the season with 5 rushes for 13 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 12 catches for 218 yards and two additional scores.

Johnson came to Marshall from Richlands, Virginia as a two star outside linebacker. He was ranked the 136th best outside linebacker in the nation. Little did he know, his recruitment would not stop there. Upon arriving to campus, both the defensive coaches and the offensive coaches wanted his services. He started out at running back and played on special teams as a true freshman. There was word there may be a change to defense.

The change, if it ever took place, did not stick. The 6’1”, 240 pound bruising full back/tight end is expected to have a huge 2014 season. He will battle at tight end with Eric Frohnapfel, Deontay McManus and Joe Woodrum.

One other number 47 actually played linebacker for the Herd. Matt Couch came to the Herd from Cincinnati, Ohio. One not so funny moment for Couch occurred in the dreaded 2004 Fort Worth Bowl. Couch suffered a concussion in the first half. He wanted to continue to play. Finally, his helmet had to be taken and completely hidden so he would not sneak back onto the field. Or, that is how the story goes anyway.

On with the number 47.

Forty Seven years ago, the year was 1967 and the Herd was in the Mid American Conference.

The leading rusher was Charlie Jones. Jones led the Herd with just 550 yards on 161 carries. He scored two touchdowns. James Torrence led the Herd, well, was the leading passer from the quarterback position. Torrence finished the year with 42 completions on 124 attempts. He threw for 490 yards, one touchdown and 10 interceptions. The leading receiver was Parris Coleman who hauled in just 10 catches for 114 yards. Current Wide receiver Tommy Shuler nearly achieved that in the first half at Purdue.

As you could probably tell by the stats above. This would be Head Coach Charlie Snyder’s last season at the helm of the Herd. Marshall finished the season 0 – 10 overall and 0 – 6 in conference play. Although the Herd was competitive in some games, the season was not a good one for Herd faithful. The team captains were Tom McLaughlin and Richie Robb.

The year 1947 was a different kind of season for the Herd. Head Coach Cam Henderson had Marshall heading in the right direction. Although many of the stats are omitted and not available in many record books, the important factor was the end result. For the first time in school history the Herd had made a bowl game. Also, for the first, and still only time in school history, the Herd played a football game in the month of January.

Captains Charlie Snyder and Chasey Wilson led Henderson’s squad to a 9 – 2 regular season record. Running back Marvin Wetzel scored 18 touchdowns and tallied 108 total points. Marshall would outscore its opponents 342 to 125. The only losses on the year were at home to Canisius 25 to 20, and on the road to Xavier, 18 to 7.

Marshall was selected to play Catawba College in the 1947 Tangerine Bowl. Most sources indicate this was the first ever “Tangerine Bowl.” Average ticket prices were around $1.20 for the game held in Orlando, Florida.

Henderson was not at the game, as he also coached the Herd’s Men’s Basketball squad who was at a tournament across the country.

Marshall would lose the game 7 – 0. Marshall was missing two players who also were with Henderson and the basketball team.

Other notes about the 1947 Bowl season.

There were only 13 bowl games, so only 26 teams played post season that year.

Current CUSA mate North Texas also played in a bowl in 1947. North Texas played, and lost to Nevada 13 to 6 in the Salad Bowl.

2014 opponent Miami of Ohio also played in a bowl game that year. The Redskins at that time, beat Texas Tech 13 to 12 in El Paso, Texas in the Sun Bowl.

Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com as we continue to countdown the days to kickoff.

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