HUNTINGTON — Marshall football’s key Conference USA showdown with East Division rival Charlotte will not take place this weekend, according to Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick.
“Yes, it’s off,” Hamrick said. “It’s due to COVID-19 issues at Charlotte.”
Marshall and Charlotte were scheduled to lock up in a battle that could determine the Conference USA East Division winner with the Herd, ranked No. 15 nationally, undefeated and the 49ers with just one loss in conference play.
Instead, it is unknown whether the matchup will get to take place now. Marshall already has two scheduled makeup games for Conference USA’s two built-in weeks while the 49ers also have a game scheduled for Dec. 5 against FIU currently in that slot.
For Marshall (7-0, 4-0 C-USA), it is the fourth game that has been altered by COVID-19 this season.
The Herd lost a non-conference game with East Carolina that would have served as a 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1970 Marshall plane crash, then lost conference games with Rice and FIU in October.
The Rice game has been rescheduled to Dec. 5 in Huntington while the FIU game has been rescheduled for Dec. 11 in Miami. It is not clear if this week’s development will force alterations to the future schedule.
Charlotte has been plagued by COVID-19 issues with its schedule all season.
This marks the third consecutive game that Charlotte (2-3, 2-1 C-USA) has seen altered due to COVID-19 related issues and its sixth of the season.
Charlotte’s last game was a 53-19 loss to Duke on Oct. 31. Since that time, the 49ers have seen games against Middle Tennessee (Nov. 7) and Gardner-Webb (Nov. 14) come off the board.
The game against Middle Tennessee was postponed due to issues at Charlotte while the Gardner-Webb game was canceled due to issues at Gardner-Webb.
Last season, Charlotte defeated the Herd, 24-13, at Jerry Richardson Stadium, which knocked Marshall out of first place in Conference USA’s East Division.
It remains unclear if Marshall would attempt to schedule an opponent to fill this Saturday’s lost home date. Hamrick said that he and the league office had not been in communication and that he’d only found out the game’s cancellation late this evening.
Conference USA also had no comment on the game’s cancellation or potential scheduling changes for Marshall in the future due to the lost game.
HONORS ROLLING IN: Marshall University’s hot 7-0 start and lofty national ranking of 15 has continued to yield honors from across the college football landscape.
Head Coach Doc Holliday has been named to the national watch list for the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year honor, as he has the Herd staked to a 4-0 start in Conference USA.
The Hurricane native is Marshall’s all-time leader in games coached (136), wins over FBS programs (77) and has led the Thundering Herd to a 6-1 record in bowl games. Marshall is also one of just six undefeated teams to have played at least seven games in 2020.
Quarterback Grant Wells added to his collection of honors Wednesday, as he was named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, an accommodation given to the nation’s most outstanding college football player.
The redshirt freshman’s 7-0 record ties him for the second-longest FBS win streak to start a career as the starting QB in school history (Chase Litton, 2015). Wells has been named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week three times this season. He has completed a league-best 65.6 percent of his passes (126-of-192) for 1,674 yards with a league-best 16 touchdown passes. The 16 TD passes are second in the FBS among freshmen quarterbacks, trailing only Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler (18).
The Thundering Herd’s next scheduled game is Saturday, Dec. 5 at home against Rice. The start time for that game has yet to be determined.