Football Writers Association of America Nov. 16, 2020
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Gangi
Thundering Herd ends emotional week with a resounding win
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DALLAS (FWAA) On an emotional day during a 50th anniversary tribute to its players lost in the 1970 plane crash, the Marshall Thundering Herd overcame a slow start to overwhelm Middle Tennessee in a 42-14 home win. For remaining undefeated at the top of the Conference USA standings and in honor of its special occasion, the Thundering Herd has earned the Reveal Suits National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Nov. 14, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

This is the second time for Marshall (7-0) to earn the Team of the Week honor and first since 2003, the second year of the award when the Herd earned its first win over a ranked FBS team (Kansas State). All Division I FBS and FCS schools are eligible to be selected. This is the 19th season for the FWAA to award a Team of the Week.

The win came on the 50th anniversary of the Southern Airways Flight 932 crash that claimed the lives of 75 people; it concluded a week of ceremonies and remembrances on the Marshall campus. The 37 players who died in the crash were awarded posthumous degrees on Friday, and the team's coaches and players paid their respects at the Spring Hill Cemetery and the Marshall Memorial later that day. The Herd's top-25 ranking (now 15th) and the national attention of an undefeated season added to the hype, and to the importance, of Saturday's remembrance.

On the field, freshman quarterback Grant Wells pushed the Herd to victory with career highs in completions (25), attempts (37), passing yards (336) and passing touchdowns (five). Breaking a 7-7 tie early in the second quarter, Marshall exploded for 35 points in the middle two quarters behind Wells and his favorite target, Willie Johnson, who had a career day with eight catches for 137 and two touchdowns. Corey Gammage also caught two scores and the Herd defense recovered three fumbles that each turned into Marshall touchdowns.

Wells' banner day marked the 20th five-touchdown game in Marshall history, but from that list the last quarterback to also throw for at least 300 yards without an interception by Byron Leftwich in 2001.

Marshall hosts Charlotte at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday in a Stadium broadcast that will also be carried by FOX's regional networks.

The other National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Nov. 14 are:

San José State (4-0): The Spartans moved to 4-0 to start a season for the first time since 1955 and only the seventh time in school history with a 34-17 win over UNLV. This is SJSU's first 4-0 conference start since 1991 when it played in the Big West Conference. The Spartans had seven sacks, their highest total since 2000, led by Cade Hall with 3.0. Nick Starkel threw for 274 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Bailey Gaither, and SJSU's 176 rushing yards were a season-high and its highest total since 2017.

Tulsa (4-1): The Golden Hurricane came back from a 21-point first-half deficit to beat No. 19 SMU, 28-24, earning a second win over a top-25 team in the same season for the first time. Tulsa rallied from 18 points down Oct. 3 to win at No. 11 UCF, 34-26. Tulsa scored the game-winner with 2:11 left, then intercepted a pass to seal the win. The Golden Hurricane rolled up 455 total yards while its defense held SMU and its eighth-best offense nationally to 351 yards, 175 yards below its season average of 526.

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Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at

2020 Reveal Suits National Teams of the Week
Weekend of Sept. 5: South Alabama Jaguars
Weekend of Sept. 12: Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns
Weekend of Sept. 19: Navy Midshipmen
Weekend of Sept. 26: Mississippi State Bulldogs
Weekend of Oct. 3: Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Weekend of Oct. 10: Texas A&M Aggies
Weekend of Oct. 17: Florida State Seminoles
Weekend of Oct. 24: Indiana Hoosiers
Weekend of Oct. 31: Michigan State Spartans
Weekend of Nov. 7: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Weekend of Nov. 14: Marshall Thundering Herd
Weekend of Nov. 21: Northwestern Wildcats
Weekend of Nov. 28: Buffalo Bulls
Weekend of Dec. 5: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, Rice Owls
Weekend of Dec. 12: Army Black Knights