Herd football to kick off 2019 season with home opener against VMI

The 20thmeeting between the Marshall Thundering Herd and the Virginia Military Institute Keydets kicks off the 2019 football season in Huntington this weekend.

Conference USA announced the Herd is predicted to finish first in the East Division.

Between the two teams, Marshall holds the winning record of 14-5 since the beginning of the series. The Herd has won every game since 1982.

Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said that he is excited and anxious for the season to start.

“(We are) looking forward to the season,” Holliday said. “I know our players are as well. First games are always fun.”

Holliday announced that the captains for this week’s game are center Levi Brown, running back Brenden Knox, defensive back Nazeeh Johnson and defensive end Marquis Couch.

For the Keydets, junior quarterback Reece Udinski returns as a two-year letterman. Udinski finished the 2018 season by throwing for 3,082 yards and developed into being the first quarterback in VMI school history to exceed 3,000 yards. Also, he set season marks for 302 completions, 523 attempts, 570 total plays and tied for most touchdown passes in a season with 20.

Holliday said there are unknown possibilities from the players of both Marshall and VMI since it is the first game of the season.

“First game, you’re not sure exactly what you are going to do,” Holliday said. “I think with a year of (quarterback) Isaiah (Green) under his belt and our offensive line back in tack, we should be able to take what that defense gives us.”

Sophomore quarterback Isaiah Green said that it’s been easier having experience with football that he had not seen before last season.

“I still have the same confidence, I’m still the same person,” Green said. “I have experience to go along with it. I think we will be fine.”

Green praised the team chemistry from spring practices, training camp, up to now.

Redshirt senior Levi Brown said he is positive the team is ready to go and focus on winning a conference championship.

“It something that we have worked really, really hard for,” Brown said. “I can honestly say with full confidence this is the best I’ve felt as a team coming out of camp. There were no huge scuffles. No one got tired of doing the same things over and over again. Our group is very mature.”

Marshall defeated VMI in its last matchup 45-20 on October 12, 1996. The Herd ended up with a record of 15-0 and its second I-AA National Championship.

Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, August 31 at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected].