No Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl for Marshall this year.
Saturday’s had-to-have game against East Carolina decided the Thundering Herd’s bowl fate. When the Pirates scuttled Marshall, 65-59, in two overtimes, it meant a losing 5-7 record for Coach Holliday and the Thundering Herd. No bowl game with a losing record.
Holliday and company had gone 6-6 last season and were selected to play in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl where they defeated Florida International University, 20-10, to complete the year with an overall mark of 7-6.
However, the 2012 season was one full of close games with six of them decided by seven points or fewer. Holliday and crew won one double overtime game (Rice) and lost the other on Saturday in Greenville against East Carolina.
There was a three-point loss to then-unbeaten Ohio. Tulsa stopped Marshall by seven points in the Homecoming game at Joan Edwards Stadium in Huntington. Alabama-Birmingham was best in a seven-point verdict in Alabama. And then the Pirates put the final stake in the heart of Marshall’s bowl chances with last week’s six-point, double overtime win.
Marshall defeated Rice by three points on the road and in double overtime, 54-51. Houston was edged, 44-41, in Huntington in a win that brought Marshall’s record to 5-6 and gave it the final opportunity against East Carolina to get back to a break-even 6-6 overall record and qualify for another bowl game.
The best Saturdays in Marshall’s season were a 52-24 win over Western Carolina and a 59-24 win over Southern Mississippi on ther road.
The nastiest loss was in the season opener in Morgantown when West Virginia did in the Thundering Herd, 69-34. There was also a 54-17 loss to Central Florida at Edwards Stadium.
In his three seasons at Marshall, Holliday is 17-20 overall, and has one winning season and one bowl game.
Holliday was hired three years ago because of his reputation as one of the country’s best recruiters, and partially because he is a native son from Hurricane.
Marshall had three games scheduled against West Virginia, where Holliday had graduated from and spent two different coaching stints. Two of those games were in Morgantown against Dana Holgorsen teams and the Mountaineers won both handily.
The series with West Virginia has ended. If Sen. Joe Manchin doesn’t intervene to bring both parties to the table the way he did when he was the state’s governor, then there is no other Friends of Coal dignitary whose interest runs toward West Virginia versus Marshall athletics.
Marshall will continue on with its ConferenceUSA affiliation and find non-conference games like Purdue, Western Carolina, and Ohio that it played this season.
And it will be back searching for the six wins necessary to play in one of the 35 bowls that give 70 schools a chance for a “second season”.