Hello. Welcome to this week's installment of "Foe"Rensics where we give you an in depth look at this week's opponent with information sourced mostly from Wikipedia and my imagination. This week we venture into the cheery, sunny climes of a tiny town nestled deep in the mountains of West Virginia; Huntington, the home of Marshall University.
(I'm only going if Radha Mitchell will be there, you guys.)
1. So hey, we didn't lose to East Carolina!
A. We sure gave it our best effort, though, falling just short in the end. But my GOD, our defense...I always thought those James Gayle in a Bane mask posts by Joe were funny but now...I'm not sure it was a joke. Who's our scout team quarterback this year? Can you imagine being him and waking up EVERY DAY knowing Gayle was going to try to de-arm and de-head you?
2. Oh man, I totally feel bad for that guy. Let's sic BaneGayle on our next opponent! Wait, who are we playing next?
A. Up next is Marshall University, located in Huntington, WV, right on the Ohio River (named for the state), just across the river from the State of Ohio (named for the river) and just upstream from Kentucky (named for the woman in the Neil Diamond song). This is the second week in a row we've played a school originally founded a "Normal School" (for a short time their teams were known as the "Normalists", which makes me giggle). This is starting to make me feel self conscious about "Land Grant". Are Land Grants not...normal?
Anyway, back in the late 1800s, Huntington was in the grips of a crippling coal dust sniffing epidemic1 that had turned the drug addled town youths into hoodlums and ne'er do wells. At his wits' end, the mayor did what any reasonable leader would do, he hired the guy who was loudly proclaiming how awesome he was at fighting crime; the hero of Tombstone, AZ. Marshal Virgil Earp agreed to come east, quickly established a massive juvenile detention center to house all the ruffians about town and then just as quickly filled it beyond capacity. Because all of the kids in town ended up in the jail, they thought it'd be simpler to just turn it into a school and, after classes, distract the kids from their evil drugs with football. To honor Virgil, the savior of yet another town, the school was officially named 'Marshal' and their teams known as "The Thundering Virgins". Later, to maintain an air of propriety in town as well as honoring the vast hordes of buffalo known to roam the nearby hills of West Virginia, they changed to the "Thundering Herd."
More recently, upon seeing The Fugitive, the university president unilaterally decided to add a second 'L' to commemorate a second Marshal, Samuel Gerard as portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones. He also considered modifying the mascot to 'The Fugitives' but felt that would be emotionally straining for Jason Williams and Randy Moss.
I'm comfortable with Virginia Tommytechnic Leestitute and Jones University if everyone else is
Anyway, it took a really long time for the whole "college" and "university" thing to catch on in Huntington. According to the history on the official website, it took almost 100 years after founding to become a four year college and another 40 years after that to become a university. The extensive official history is broken into sections such as "Becoming a Real College", "New Horizons" and "Maturing", which Disney later made into a movie, tweaking slightly to change the university into a wooden puppet 2.
3. So does Marshall have a football team?
A. They do! And until the NCAA banned coal dust as a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED), a real powerhouse of a team. They won a couple of Division I-AA national titles in the 1990s, made the jump to Division I-A, pulled in some NFL talent and put together some great seasons ending with Top 25 rankings. They've since moved on from the MAC to Conference USA and regressed into a more prototypical (success-wise) Conference USA team in the last 10 years.
4. So they suck, then?
A. Not exactly. Their offense is their calling card, scoring at least 30 points in all but 3 games going back to the 2011 season. This year, their defense has actually started pulling their act together, holding (an admittedly craptacular) Miami-OH to 14 and shutting out Gardner-Webb, which I think is a pharmeceutical company. Ohio (more on them later) managed to hang 34 on them at Ohio, but all in all, this is an improvement (seriously) over last year. Frank may not just be doing his typical press conference dance when he says Marshall is better than ECU.
5. Um, so referring back to question 1 squeaking by ECU...should I be worried?
A. Haha, I don't think so. We're back at the Terror Dome this week.
6. Okay, good. Does their football team have a coach?
7. Well that's good. Who is he?
A. His name is Doc Holliday. Seriously. Considering the university's history, his interview consisted of a single question, to which he replied:
8. Any players we should know about?
A. Well, the first name you may recognize on their roster is Donaldven Manning.
9. Oh. Damn.
A. Yup. Although due to NCAA transfer rules, he will not be suiting up against us. On the rest of their roster, they have a number of notable legacies. WR Tommy Shuler is the son of Tennessee legend Heath, DB Monterious Lovett's father is famous singer and actor Lyle, star QB Rakeem Cato (who led the NCAA in passing yards last year) is the son of that guy from the OJ Simpson trial, and LB Stefan Houston's father is Oilers great Warren Moon.
10. Warren Moon was awesome on Tecmo Super Bowl.
A. Agreed. Some other players of note:
- A guy from Kansas named Kaare Vedvik, who does not even have the best name among FRESHMAN KICKERS. That honor goes to:
- Amoreto Curraj, a guy from Florida who (and this may shock you about someone from Florida named after a liqueur) looks like he idolizes Vanilla Ice.
- WR Jazz King, which, to be honest, seems to be a lot of expectation to put on your son at birth.
- Star TE Gator Hoskins. From Gainesville, FL. Which is where the University of Florida is. Who are known as the Gators. How the hell did this guy end up in West Virginia?
11. Do they have any Fullers?
A. This is where things get dicey. They do NOT have any players named Fuller; however, they have a COACH Fuller. We've confirmed Coach Fuller is out of eligibility and, since he is not allowed to employ his Fullerness on the field AND we outFuller them by a 2:1 advantage, I feel comfortable we should not have any major issues on Saturday.
12. Do they have any good rivalries?
A. Yes, they do. They have a fierce rivalry with Ohio University that determines who controls the shipping on the Ohio River, a matter that was previously settled by civil war reenactors. They compete (ahem, Battle) annually (although the series was on hiatus for 4 years after Marshall bolted from the MAC) for The Bell. Interestingly, the loser is also required to wear the winners colors for the entire year until the next game is played.
Marshall also appears to be (currently) one of the losers in the conference realignment dance, as they are probably the strongest football program in Conference USA that did not get picked up by another conference, considering it is now morphing into Marshall, Rice, UTEP and a bunch of former Sun Belt and FCS teams.
13. Anything else to know about Marshall football?
A. Their mascot's name is Marco, to represent the strong Italian-American Bison population in Huntington. He apparently had a 'spouse' named Marsha in the 70s and a 'son' named Buffy, but that bitch Marsha ran off with Buffy and all Marco has left to fill the void is football. If anyone has any knowledge as to the whereabouts of Buffy, Marco would sure appreciate it4. Also, their stadium is named after an New Orleans Jazz singing Englishwoman, so there's that.
14. Before you start posting videos from Treme, where should I eat in Huntington?
A. Once again, I have yet to visit Huntington (and none of you will be this weekend either, but that's never stopped us before!), so let's let THE INTERNET be our tour guide. Trip Advisor says the best restaurant in Huntington is Backyard Pizza, which is probably run by one of Marco's cousins or something. Let's go to the user reviews for some more info:
"4 Hungary People"
I think we all know what this means. Be forewarned before you go here, this is probably actually a front for the Eastern European mob and I totally saw that movie with Viggo Mortensen where he had to fight those Russians in the Turkish bath naked and trust me, you do NOT want to mess with those people. Unless you are Aragorn.
"Really "hip-foody" vibe...I got the "Wootang" Pizza...."
I have no response to this. The only other thing I want to add is that they have a pizza called the Truffle Shuffle, which I'm only telling you as an excuse to show this.
15. Do you think they know they spelled Wu-Tang wrong?
A. I...I don't know. Let's move on. For barbecue, you appear to have a couple of choices, although since Buddy's All American Bar-B-Que prominently advertises brisket, let's go ahead and discount them.
Your other choice appears to be Carolina Barbecue (good so far), which doesn't have a website (actually a plus, in barbecuing terms, followed closely by "has a website clearly designed in 1997 and not updated since") and appears to be entirely run by a single man who according to some reviewers is crotchety (again, actually a plus). They appear to offer a vinegar sauce (BOOM!) and the ribs are fall off the bone. So if you are, for whatever reason, in Huntington this weekend INSTEAD of Blacksburg because you have trouble understanding "Home" vs "Away" and you don't feel like eating at a restaurant where they misappropriate the name of a rap group that was an integral part of many of our formative and college years and then has the temerity to MISPELL IT, TOO, you should try the barbecue here.
16. Okay, let's get back to football. LOGAN THOMAS COUNTDOWN TO FIVE INTERCEPTIONS:
A. On behalf of Logan, I would like to apologize to all of the ACC defenses . He currently stands at four interceptions for the year, This means he has ONLY ONE interception to spread out over the remaining 9 (or 10, or 11) games this year. According to my research, you CANNOT accrue fractional interceptions, either, so he's got one game left where he's going to let one lucky defense feel, just for one tiny moment, that they belong on the same field as our defense.
17. Final thoughtswhat should we watch for in the game?
A. Aside from keeping your eyes out for Marsha the baby bison snatcher:
- If Brandon Facyson is actually a Fuller cousin and if he will LET THEM INTERCEPT SOME PASSES TOO
- The NCAA record for sacks by a team in a single game is 15. I would desperately like to break that.
- If the passing game can continue to progress and if we remember how to run the ball again.
- Remember that time we played Marshall when Eddie Royal was here and his sister was regimental commander of the Corps of Cadets and his brother was playing for Marshall? HOW THE HELL DID WE LET ONE OF OUR PLAYERS' BROTHER PLAY FOR SOMEONE ELSE?
- I want to see Trey Edmunds break off a 70+ yard TD run again and Shane Beamer go ballistic. That was fun.
That's all for this week, hope you enjoy the game on Saturday and we'll be back early next week (Short week!) to take a look at Georgia Tech5.
1To be clear, we here at "Foe"Rensics do not condone or endorse the use of coal dust as a recreational drug.2
2Okay, to clarify my clarification, we here at "Foe"Rensics do not condone or endorse the use of ANY recreational drugs.3
3Sorry, further clearing up of the clarifying of my clarification; we here at "Foe"Rensics are in no way judging or criticizing anyone here's use of any recreational drugs. Do what you feel, man.
4Or, if anyone can find images of Marsha OR Buffy, on a personal level, I would really appreciate it.
5Just as a brief glimpse into my mindset for that one, every time I think about Paul Johnson "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" starts playing in my head.