Herd to Battle for East Division Title

Marshall Senior Cornerback Monterius Lovett

Marshall Football will finish the regular season Friday at noon against East Carolina University.

With the winner of the game winning the East Division and a spot in the following weekend’s Conference USA Championship game, Friday’s noon kick-off is quite possibly the biggest game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium has seen in more than a decade. In 2002, Huntington played host to the Mid-American Conference Championship that Marshall won. Both the East Carolina Pirates and the Thundering Herd enter the contest with 6-1 conference records. Marshall Head Coach Doc Holliday said this is what everyone has been looking forward to. 

"I came here and took this job for the opportunity to play for championships," Holliday said.

“I came here and took this job for the opportunity to play for championships and that’s what this fan base wants and that’s what you all want, that’s what the town, the city and the school, that’s what everybody wants and here we are,” Holliday said.

ECU’s overall record, however, is a game better than the Herd’s at 9-2 compared to 8-3. Holliday said they are good football team.

Both teams rank near the top of the conference in most offensive categories. Marshall ranks number one in total offense with ECU at number two and ECU ranks first in passing with Marshall just a step behind at second in the conference, but Holliday said it’s not just the offense that makes ECU a worthy competitor.

“They’re a very talented team that we have to make sure we do a good job preparing for,” Holliday said.

“If you look at their defense they’re very athletic, kind of similar to us if you look at them, they’ve made great improvements with their defense and they’re very athletic.”

The winner of the Friday afternoon matchup will take on one of three teams from the West Division, Rice, Tulane or the University of Texas San Antonio depending on the outcomes of games this weekend.

Senior Cornerback Monterius Lovett will be honored before Friday’s kick-off on Senior-day along with many of his graduating teammates. He said he understands what this game means for team, university and community.

“It’s going to mean a whole lot, they deserve it, it’s been I think 11 years since we have won a championship and we’ve never won a championship in Conference USA so yeah it’s going to be a great feeling and I know our fans are going to have our back,” Lovett said.

Senior Defensive End Alex Bazzie said the predicted cold temperatures or large crowd won’t affect ECU, so the Herd has to be ready.

“You just have to find a way to slow them down and find a way where they have to start going to different plays and not the plays they want to run, you’ve got to find a way to take them off track,” Bazzie said.

The site of the 2013 Conference USA Championship game goes to the school with the best conference record. In the event of a tie the higher team in the Bowl Championship Series Rankings will host the matchup. A Herd win could possibly bring that championship game back to Huntington and Joan C. Edwards Stadium.