A History Lesson on the Number 95

The countdown continues on Herdhaven. Just 95 days until kickoff between the Marshall Thundering Herd and the Purdue Boilermakers. Today's history lesson contains names such as Chad Pennington and William Pannell. Also a mention of a saloon in El Paso and the Jeanette Athletic Club. Read more below.

Ninety Five Days until kickoff of the 2015 Football Season for the Marshall Thundering Herd. The Herd is coming off of a 13 – 1 season. Marshall fell in the final regular season contest to Western Kentucky, and look to avenge that loss on the road late in the 2015 season, but first, the Purdue Boilermakers roll into town ninety five days from today for a Sunday afternoon contest. Purdue will be the first Big 10 team to play at Marshall in school history.

Wearing number 95 for the Herd this season will be defensive tackle Tomell One. One played last year as a true freshman and did not disappoint. He played in crunch time of several games throughout the year. By the time the season was over, he had accounted for 15 total tackles. He also had one sack and played in 11 of the 14 games. One is a former three star recruit from Florida. One will be a true sophomore this season and should play a big factor in the interior defensive line. He will play behind returning starters and letterman, Jarquez Samuel, Steve Dillon and Ricardo Williams.

In 1995 Marshall was still a member of Division 1-AA, now known as FCS. Marshall was coming off a disappointing 12 – 2 season in which it blew a two score lead on the road in the semifinals at Boise State. That meant the Herd had to watch the Broncos play Youngstown State in Huntington the following week. Marshall was determined to get back to the National Championship Game the following season.

The team captains were Jerome Embry, Jayson Grayson, Billy Lyon, Tim Martin, Chris Parker and William Pannell.

There have been many important dates in Marshall football history, many of which we will cover over the next 95 days. What happened early in the 1995 season would make the short list in regards to important dates in Marshall football history, and Marshall school history. Marshall entered the year with two quarterbacks expecting to battle for the starting job. Larry Harris and Ohio State transfer Mark Zban. Harris was hurt, and then Zban got hurt which caused head coach Jim Donnan to bring in skinny, true freshman Chad Pennington. Pennington started off extremely slow, but battled throughout the year and eventually got the Herd back to the semifinals where it would travel to number one McNeese State.

Pennington was not rattled. The Herd came out early and held on for a commanding 25 to 13 road win over the favorite Cowboys. Marshall was back in the title game at home to face heavily favorited Montana. The Grizzlies scored late in the game and Marshall missed a very, very long last second field goal, and the Herd fell 22 to 20.

Pennington would take the next year off as new Head Coach Bob Pruett would bring in Eric Kresser from Florida, but he would go on to be a Heisman Candidate a few years later, lead the Herd into the ranks of Division 1-A football, and now sets as one of the most important spokesman for the Athletic program as it builds for the future.

1995 would be the final year for Marshall Head Coach Jim Donnan. Donnan would leave on Christmas to take a job at the University of Georgia. There was concern that Pennington would go with Donnan and set out a year as a redshirt, but Pennington, stayed with the Herd. Marshall would lose future pros Olandis Gary and Jermaine Wiggins to Georgia with the coaching change.

Flashing back to 1895 Marshall played just two football games, with no paid coach. They did not win a game, and they did not score. The Herd opened up its football history with a 36 to 0 home loss to Ashland High School on November 14th, 1895. How ironic, that the date of the first game in school history was on November 14th. Two weeks later the Herd tied Kingsbury High School 0 to 0. Marshall would not play another football game until October 23rd of 1897.

To put into perspective how long ago that was, Marshall College played its first football game in the same year that American Frontier murderer John Wesley Hardin was killed in a saloon in El Paso, Texas. Also the first ever professional American Football game was played in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The game was between Latrobe YMCA and the Jeannette Athletic Club. Latrobe won the game 12 to 0.

Stay tuned to Herdhaven as we continue to count down the days to kickoff by taking you through the roster and through Herd History.

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