No. 16 Herd to face Blue Raiders on 50th Anniversary

On the 50th Anniversary of the Marshall Plane Crash, the Marshall University football team will take on the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said captains for this week are redshirt senior safety Nazeeh Johnson and redshirt senior linebacker Tavante Beckett on defense, redshirt junior running back Sheldon Evans and Brenden Knox and redshirt senior offensive lineman Alex Mollette on offense.

The No. 16 Herd are entering the contest 6-0, 3-0 Conference USA, while the Blue Raiders come in with a 2-5, 2-3 C-USA record. 

“This is the biggest game on our schedule every year,” Holliday said. “They’ve got a do a good job of preparation for this game and go play. We have to find a way to win. We constantly talk about our history and we play because of it. They hear the stories, the people that have been affected by it. They go out and play their hearts out for the 75.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Grant Wells received the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, announced by the league.

“You’re only as successful as the people around you,” Wells said. “I not only take that as an individual award, but a team award.”

This will be Wells’ first time going out and playing in the 75 game as starting quarterback for the Herd.

“It’s my first opportunity to go out there and represent the 75 as the starting quarterback,” Wells said. “There’s a lot of emotions. It certainly raises emotions this whole week. Practices seem different. This game isn’t about us anymore. It all goes out the window when this game comes. The whole community rallies for this game. This program has come such a long way from 1970.”

Redshirt sophomore kicker Shane Ciucci said there is a lot of importance of this game and feel the presence of the 75 lives.

“This week is bigger than everybody on the team.” Ciucci said. “Even though football brings us all in from all over the country, it really brings us close the 75. It’s always a big week regardless. It almost feels like the 75 are there at the game.”

Redshirt senior offensive lineman Will Ulmer said the team works harder and comes together as one to honor the 75.

“The 75 game always means more to us players,” Ulmer said. “The 50th year anniversary of the plane crash, and we get to go out and honor them by playing a conference game on it and go out and win. You go out little bit harder, it brings everybody together. It causes us to practice harder and work together.”

Michael W. Smith, a three-time Grammy Award winner and Kenova native, will perform at the Memorial Fountain Ceremony and the national anthem for the game, per Marshall Athletics.

Kickoff is set for noon Saturday, Nov. 14 on CBS Sports Network.

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected]