Marshall-Miami Will Be Game 1,000 For Herd

Marshall is about to hit a milestone. The Thundering Herd football program will play game number 1,000 in school history against Miami on Wednesday, September 29, at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2. The Herd is 493-459-47 since the first game, way back in 1895, counting games against high schools, pro teams (from Huntington, Wheeling and Catlettsburg), YMCA teams, athletic clubs and the like over 110 years and 105 seasons of Marshall football. Let us take a look back at the milestone games.

Game 1: 1895, versus Ashland (KY) High School, at the Marshall College campus field (today, this area is a campus green space, located behind the Science Building), to celebrate the laying of a cornerstone for a new bell tower for Old Main. Marshall "Indians" lose, 0-36, wearing black and blue uniforms. Team is 0-2 in first season in Marshall history (that was documented by local newspapers). Marshall football record, from 1895 (no games, 1896); 1897-1899, 4-5-2, .454 win percentage for decade.

Game 25: 1903, at Middleport (OH) High School. First year for paid coach (Marshall history professor George Ford, WVU 1899), team captain (Roy Grass, the QB and captain in 1903-04) and wearing of Green and White for first time at Marshall. Team known as "Big Green" or "Normalists" (Marshall was a state Normal school, a two-year program to prepare high school teachers along with a laboratory school of high school students for student-teaching), ties 0-0, on the October 10th opener. Team posts 3-1-1 mark, losing a game for the first time since 1898.

Game 50: 1907, at home against the Ashland YMCA. Marshall plays the last season ever without a coach, as team captain T.J. Robinson calls the shots in a 0-0 tie on October 12. Robinson directs Marshall to a 3-2-1 record. Marshall record, from 1900-09, 28-16-12; the 12 ties are the most ties in any decade for MU football.

Game 75: 1911, under third-year head coach and athletic director Boyd "Fox" Chambers, Marshall wins the season opener, played on October 14, against Marietta (OH) College at the Marshall campus field, 6-0, behind College Football Hall Of Fame member Harry "Cy" Young, who quarterbacked and captained Marshall to a 4-1-1 mark.

Game 100: 1914, Marshall comes off the second-biggest win in school history, 94-0 over Wilmington, but cannot hold the momentum. Marshall will lose game 100 at Virginia Tech, 6-53, on November 7. Marshall record, 1910-1917 & 1919 (no season, 1918, due to World War I), 37-30-4, .556 win percentage.

Game 200: 1927, Marshall is now being called "The Thundering Herd" by Huntington newspaperman Carl "Duke" Ridgley, the sports editor of The Herald-Dispatch, who takes the name from the Zane Grey novel of the same name (book released in 1925). Herd will gain a tie in game number 200 at John Carroll College near Cleveland, Ohio, 6-6 on October 1. Marshall record, 1920-29, 42-37-9, .528 win percentage, and WVIC champs in 1925 and 1928.

Game 300: 1937, the Marshall team reaps the fruits of third-year coach Eli Camden "Cam" Henderson's work as the Herd marches to a 9-0-1 mark and the only Buckeye Conference championship Marshall wins (1933-38). Game number 300 is the clincher, a 7-0 shutout of Buckeye foe Dayton, on November 20, to seize the title in a snowstorm on Bob Adkins' 70-yard touchdown. Marshall record, 1930-39, 54-36-5, .595 win percentage, and WVIC champs 1931, Buckeye champs 1937.

Game 400: 1950, the first new Marshall coach since 1935 as Pete Pederson replaces Henderson as the Herd football coach. The 2-8 mark will get the new coach off to a bad start as well as the decade in which Marshall has only two winning seasons. Game 400 in school history is lost to Ohio in the final game of the year, 6-14 in Athens, Ohio, on November 23. Marshall record, 1940-42 & 1946-49 (no seasons, 1943-45, for World War II), 35-31-3, .529 win percentage, and played in Tangerine Bowl in 1947; Marshall record, 1950-59, 31-58-5, .356 win percentage.

Game 500: 1961, the Herd (or Big Green, as a vote in 1958 by students voted for green nickname. Name will be Thundering Herd on another vote in 1964) will play its first-ever season as Marshall University. Game number 500 is a tie with long-time rival Morehead (KY) State University at Fairfield Stadium, a 0-0 tie, on October 21. Marshall record, 1960-69, 30-66-4, .320 win percentage.

Game 600: 1971, Marshall is trying to overcome the worst airline disaster in American sport history, when 75 persons and most of the football team and staff are killed in a crash in 1970. The "Young" Thundering Herd will win two games in 1971, however, and a huge upset of the Don Nehlen-coached Bowling Green State Falcons is one of those in Marshall's game number 600, a 12-10 Thundering Herd win on October 30 at Homecoming. Marshall posted the worst record in Division I football in the decade however; 1970-79, 23-83, .217 win percentage.

Game 700: 1980, Sonny Randle is in year two of the third coach since the crash. Marshall has only won one game in 1978 and 1979, over Toledo, but won the first two of this season. Toledo, also trying to rebuild, rises up to whip Herd in game 700, shutting out Marshall 0-38, on November 15, nearly 10 years to the day of the crash.

Game 800: 1989, Marshall has five consecutive winning seasons after nearly 20 years of non-winning years. George Chaump is in his last year at the Marshall helm, but despite finally beating Furman for the first time in 11 games in '88, MU loses to the Purple Paladins for the second time in a row (counting a loss in the 1988 I-AA quarterfinals) by dropping game 800, 13-34, to Furman on October 7 in Greenville (SC). Marshall record, 1980-89, 57-56-3, .504 win percentage, and Division I-AA National Finalist 1987, Southern Conference champs 1988.

Game 900: 1996, Marshall alum Bob Pruett is in his first year as the head coach for Herd football. Marshall will roll roughshod over all opponents, going 15-0 and winning the Southern Conference for the third time since 1988 and winning a second National Championship since 1992. The Citadel does little to slow the Herd, losing 56-25, on November 2. Marshall record, 1990-99, 114-25, .820 win percentage, and best win mark in all of Division I football as well as most wins for any decade of college football. I-AA National Champions 1992 & 1996; National Finalist 1991, 1993, 1995; Southern Conference champs 1994 & 1996 and Mid-American Conference champs 1997-98-99; Motor City Bowl 1997-98-99.

Game 1,000: 2004, Marshall 0-3 for the first time since 1975, losing three games in a row for the first time since then and losing the first home opener since 1983 to Troy, 15-17. Marshall then suffers a last-second 55-yard field goal by number seven-ranked Ohio State to lose in Columbus (OH), 21-24. Marshall then plays number three-ranked Georgia tough in Athens (GA), only to fall 3-13. The Herd tries to get a win in game number 1,000 at Marshall on a Wednesday night, September 29, in front of a national television audience on ESPN2. The game will be against long-time foe Miami University of Ohio, meeting the RedHawks (nee' Redskins, prior to 1997) for the 41st time in Marshall history. Miami has gone 2-5 versus the Herd since Marshall rejoined the MAC in 1997 and have not won at Huntington since 1979. Marshall has played only Ohio (51 times) and Morehead State (46 times) more than they have played Miami, although this could be the final game for some time to come, as the Herd leaves the MAC for Conference USA in 2005. Marshall football record, 2000-current, 38-16, .704 win percentage, and Mid-American Conference champs 2000 & 2002; Motor City Bowl 2000; GMAC Bowl 2001 & 2002.

MU will honor Jackie Hunt at this game, the former Marshall great (1938-41) running back, defensive back, punter and passer, who had 27 touchdowns in 1940 and was a two-time All-American. Hunt was inducted posthumously into the College Football Hall Of Fame this summer, represented by his widow, May Evelyn, who also graduated from Marshall in 1944. Jack Lengyel, who coached Marshall 1971-74, will represent the National Football Foundation/College Football Hall Of Fame for the presentation. Also, the Marshall "M" Club will present blankets to Frank "Gunner" Gatski, the former center for the Herd (1940-42), Cleveland Browns (1946-56) and Detroit Lions (1957) who played in 12 championship games in 13 seasons of pro football, winning eight titles, and who is MU's only member of the National Football League Hall Of Fame, will get a blanket. Carl Lee, the former two-time All-Southern Conference safety with Marshall (1979-82) and former NFL All-Pro with the Minnesota Vikings (1983-93) and New Orleans Saints (1994), who currently coaches WV State University and was named to the Viking's 40th Anniversary Team, will get a blanket as well.

Marshall wins over the years:
1st-October 22, 1898, versus Kingsbury High School (Ironton, Ohio), 12-0
1st over collegiate opponent-November 11, 1905, Ohio, 6-5
100th-October 20, 1928, versus Wittenberg, 6-0
200th-September 22, 1951, versus Morehead State, 21-6
250th-September 25, 1965 at Eastern Kentucky, 28-12
300th-September 7, 1985, at Morehead State, 27-10
400th-November 25, 1995, versus Jackson State, 38-8
450th-November 26, 1999, versus Ohio, 34-3
Current record, overall: 493-459-47 (seven wins to 500th), a .517 win percentage all-time for the Thundering Herd.

Marshall's current record at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium: 98-7 (two wins to 100th), a .933 winning percentage since the stadium opened in 1991.
Bob Pruett has lost only twice at "The Joan," losing to Western Michigan 10-30 in 2000 and losing the opener to Troy this season; 54-2 mark and a winning percentage of .964 for Pruett at home since 1996. At home:
Win #1-versus New Hampshire, September 7, 1991, 24-23
Win #25-versus East Tennessee State, November 6, 1993, 33-9
Win #50-versus Western Carolina, October 19, 1996, 56-21
Win #75-versus Ohio, November 26, 1999, 34-3.

Bob Pruett, as Marshall head football coach, 1996-present: 88-20
Win/Game #1-versus Howard, September 7, 1996, 55-27
Game #25-versus Bowling Green, November 8, 1997, 28-0
Win #25-versus Toledo (MAC Championship), December 5, 1997, 34-14
Game #50-at Kent State, November 6, 1999, 28-16
Win #50-versus BYU (Motor City Bowl), December 27, 1999, 21-3
Game #75-at Kent State, November 3, 2001, 42-21
Win #75-at Central Michigan, October 26, 2002, 23-18
Game #100-at Western Michigan, October 25, 2003, 41-21

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