Marshall faces FIU in final home game of season

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Emotion will encapsulate the Marshall University campus Saturday and that emotion will be transferred to Joan C. Edwards Stadium around 3:30 p.m. when the Herd takes on Florida International University.

“It’s going to be very emotional,” senior wide receiver Deandre Reaves said. “It’s kind of hard to put into words.”

Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said the players have embraced the significance of the game, which marks the 45th anniversary to the day of the plane crash in 1970 resulting in the death of 75 people, including 36 Marshall football players.

“(The players) know how important it is,” Holliday said, “and if you talk to them, they’ll tell you how important it is to our fan base and community. Nobody else has our story and these kids understand that, so it’s been great for me as a head coach to see how our kids have embraced the tradition of Marshall University and they’ll carry that on. I’m proud of the way they’ve represented themselves toward this school and what it really means.”

Holliday said he and about 40 players will attend the Memorial Fountain ceremony Saturday morning before making final preparations for the game.

However, the Herd will also commemorate the lost sons of Marshall once it hits the field as the team will don a new black jersey.

Although Saturday will represent a historical day for the university, it doubles in meaning for the Herd seniors.

“It’s also a big game for us because we have 18 seniors playing their last game here at our stadium,” Holliday said. “Those are 18 guys who have changed the culture of this program. They’ve won a bunch of games around here and we’re going to miss them. It’s important that we send those guys off the right way.”

Freshman quarterback Chase Litton said the 18 seniors have represented themselves and the team well and symbolize what the game of football is all about.

“It’s just 100 percent them,” Litton said. “The passion they have for the game, the effort with Evan McKelvey, D.J. Hunter Davonte Allen, ‘Swede’ (Sebastian Johansson). It’s just players like that you can’t coach. It’s just what they have in them; it’s for the game, it’s for the love of the city. And they play for those 75 every time they step out on the field and they play for the ‘M’ on their helmets and the ‘Herd’ across their chest. Those are things you really can’t coach. And to have those players on your team that really play for the passion of the game and the passion of this community and the people around us is truly special.”

Bradley Heltzel can be contacted at [email protected]

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