1997 Marshall Thundering Herd football team
|1997 Marshall Thundering Herd football|
MAC East Division Champions
|Conference||Mid-American Conference East|
|1997 record||10–3 (7–1 MAC)|
|Head coach||Bob Pruett|
|Offensive coordinator||Tim Nunez|
|Defensive coordinator||Kevin Kelly|
|Home stadium||Marshall University Stadium
|1997 Mid-American Conference football standings|
|Championship: Marshall 34, Toledo 14|
The 1997 Marshall Thundering Herd football team represented the Marshall University in the 1997 NCAA Division I-A college football season. It was their first year in the Mid-American Conference.
In the 1997 season, Marshall University's first in Division I-A (now known as FBS), Randy Moss and future NFL quarterback Chad Pennington were the centerpiece of an explosive offense that led the Thundering Herd to the Mid-American Conference title. Moss caught 25 touchdown passes that season, at the time a Division I-A record, and was a first-team All-American. For the season, Moss had 96 receptions for 1820 yards, and 26 touchdowns. Moss won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation's leading wide receiver, and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy (finishing fourth in the balloting, behind Ryan Leaf, Peyton Manning, and Charles Woodson, who won the award). Moss left Marshall with 168 receptions for 3,467 yards and a school record 53 touchdowns.
The Herd became only the second team to win a conference championship in its first FBS season, after Nevada in 1992 (Big West Conference). The feat would not be repeated again until 2014, when Georgia Southern won the Sun Belt Conference title.
The Thundering Herd finished the regular season with a record of 10 wins and 2 losses.
|August 30||12:00 PM||at West Virginia*||Mountaineer Field • Morgantown, WV||ESPN+||L 31–42||65,492|
|September 6||1:00 PM||at Army*||Michie Stadium • West Point, NY||W 35–25||30,358|
|September 13||3:30 PM||at Kent State||Dix Stadium • Kent, OH||W 42–17||11,021|
|September 20||7:00 PM||Western Illinois*||Marshall University Stadium • Huntington, WV||WSAZ||W 48–7||26,724|
|September 27||1:00 PM||at Ball State||Ball State Stadium • Muncie, IN||WVAH||W 42–16||20,415|
|October 11||7:00 PM||Akron||Marshall University Stadium • Huntington, WV||W 52–17||26,642|
|October 18||2:00 PM||at Miami (OH)||Yager Stadium • Oxford, OH||WSAZ||L 21–45||29,027|
|October 25||7:00 PM||Eastern Michigan||Marshall University Stadium • Huntington, WV||W 48–25||21,474|
|November 1||1:00 PM||at Central Michigan||Kelly/Shorts Stadium • Mount Pleasant, MI||WSAZ||W 45–17||15,324|
|November 8||3:30 PM||Bowling Green||Marshall University Stadium • Huntington, WV||WSAZ||W 28–0||23,509|
|November 15||3:30 PM||Ohio||Marshall University Stadium • Huntington, WV (Battle for the Bell)||W 27–0||32,012|
|December 5||7:30 PM||Toledo||Marshall University Stadium • Huntington, WV (MAC Championship Game)||ESPN2||W 34–14||28,021|
|December 26||8:00 PM||vs. Ole Miss*||Pontiac Silverdome • Pontiac, MI (Motor City Bowl)||ESPN||L 31–34||43,340|
|*Non-conference game. Homecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll. All times are in Eastern Time.|
1997 Team Players in the NFL
|Randy Moss||Wide Receiver||1||21||Minnesota Vikings|
|John Wade||Center||5||148||Jacksonville Jaguars|
Awards and honors