WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS
Marshall Thundering Herd
Milan Puskar Stadium (60,000/FieldTurf)
Sunday, September 4 • 3:30 p.m. • ESPN/ ESPN3.com
ESPN — Joe Tessitore, Rod Gilmore and Quint Kessenich
West Virginia Radio
WAJR-AM 1440 (flagship)
THE GAME • THE FRIENDS OF COAL BOWL
Sunday’s game will be the 11th meeting between West Virginia and Marshall in the Friends of Coal Bowl … The Mountaineers have won all 10 previous meetings … The series dates to the 1911 season, though the schools only played five times from 1911 to 1997 … The 2011 matchup is the sixth game in a scheduled seven-year series … The closest call for West Virginia came last season, when the Mountaineers scored the final 15 points in a 24-21 overtime decision in Huntington, W.Va., when Mountaineer QB Geno Smith threw for 316 yards and a touchdown … Marshall head coach Doc Holliday is a 1979 graduate of West Virginia and is a former assistant coach with the Mountaineers … The winner of the West Virginia-Marshall game receives the Governor’s Cup.
24/rv WEST VIRGINIA (0-0)
Dana Holgorsen (Iowa Wesleyan ’93)
0-0, first season
Sunday’s game will mark the head coaching debut of Dana Holgorsen, who became the Mountaineers’ 33rd football coach in June … Holgorsen had most recently served as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, where he engineered a Cowboy unit that averaged 520.2 yards and 44.2 points per game last season … The keys to Holgorsen’s offensve will go to QB Geno Smith, the All-BIG EAST Second Team selection in 2010 … Smith threw for 2,763 yards and 24 touchdowns with seven interceptions last year in his first season as a starter … WR Tavon Austin had eight touchdown receptions and had 787 receiving yards last year and is the top returning receiver … WR Ryan Nehlen, who could crack the starting lineup, is the grandson of former Mountaineer head coach Don Nehlen … West Virginia ranked No. 2 nationally in sacks, rushing defense and third-down defense and was No. 3 in scoring and total defense last year, but returns just four starters from that unit … CB Keith Tandy earned All-BIG EAST First Team honors thanks to his six interceptions in 2010 … DE Bruce Irvin registered 14 sacks, playing primarily as a third-down end.
Doc Holliday (West Virginia ’79)
5-7, second season
Marshall won just one of its first seven games in 2010, but closed the season with four wins in the last five games to finish 5-7 … The Thundering Herd return nine starters from last year’s defense, including DE Vinny Curry, who was an All-Conference USA First Team pick … Curry was the national leader in tackles among defensive linemen last season (94) and had 12 sacks … The Thundering Herd return their defensive secondary unit intact … Marshall relied on 28 freshmen last season, second nationally only to Florida, which had 31 freshmen see game action last year … Marshall returns its top four rushers and two of its top three receivers from last year, but will have to rely on a new quarterback … Thundering Herd defensive coordinator Chris Rippon spent 13 years in the BIG EAST, including 12 years at Syracuse as a defensive and special teams coordinator.