Written by Justin Prince.
The Thundering Herd has an interesting bowl history; below we will explore some of the numbers behind the bowl games in which Marshall has played leading up to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl against Colorado State.
Saturday will mark the Herd’s 14th bowl appearance in school history and the 13th since re-entering FBS (then D-1A) play in 1997.
The most points Marshall has ever scored in a bowl game came in the 2001 GMAC Bowl when the Herd came from behind to beat the East Carolina Pirates 64-61 in double overtime. The 125 combined points is still the highest scoring bowl game of all time. Fittingly enough, Marshall’s opponent Saturday, Colorado State was involved in the third highest scoring bowl game in history last season when the Rams lost to Idaho 61-50.
Marshall has played in the now defunct Motor City Bowl more times than any other bowl game. The Herd went 3-1 in its four consecutive trips to the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. The lone loss came in the Herd’s first appearance losing to an eight win Ole Miss team 34-31.
A Motor City Bowl Record 52,911 fans were in attendance to see Marshall defeat the Cincinnati Bearcats 25-14 in 2000. It’s the largest crowd ever for a bowl game involving the Thundering Herd and broke the 1999 Motor City Bowl record of 52,449 that also featured a predominately pro-Marshall crowd.
Marshall has performed well in bowl games posting a 10-3 record overall. However, the Herd’s first bowl game in 1948 doesn’t count in the NCAA record books because the Tangerine Bowl at the time wasn’t a sanctioned bowl. So, the Herd’s official 10-2 record gives the program a .833 winning percentage in bowls. It’s the highest bowl winning percentage of any FBS team with at least 10 bowl appearances.
In the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl the Herd defeated Northern Illinois 52-23 to finish off a 13-1 season with a conference title and a bowl win. The 29 points is the largest margin of victory in a bowl game in Marshall history.
No single player has won more bowl MVP awards than former Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich, who won three in a row from 2000-2002. In those three games Leftwhich threw for a staggering 1,046 yards and nine touchdowns. The only other multiple bowl MVP recipient in Herd history is Rakeem Cato who won back-to-back awards in 2013 and 2014.
The Thundering Herd traveled 1,494 miles to Albuquerque, New Mexico for Saturday’s Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the furthest distance the program has ever traveled for a bowl game. The previous furthest was 1,031 miles to Fort Worth, Texas for the 2004 Forth Worth Bowl.
Marshall has won its last five bowl game games going back to the 2009 Little Ceaesar’s Pizza Bowl. In that string of victories the Thundering Herd has claimed bowl wins over Ohio, FIU, Maryland, Northern Illinois and UConn.
4:30 PM EST
The time the Thundering Herd takes on the Colorado State Rams in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 16. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.