Herd arrives in Albuquerque
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mountains and mariachi music greeted Marshall University’s football travel party Wednesday when the Thundering Herd arrived for the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
Marshall and Colorado State University, both 7-5, meet at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Dreamstyle Stadium.
“Our kids were excited to come somewhere different and we’re looking forward to this bowl,” Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said.
The Herd took two Sun Country chartered flights — one for the team and one for the families of staff — to Albuquerque and landed at about 9:40 a.m. MT in New Mexico, or 11:40 a.m. in Huntington.
As the team landed, they were met by a mariachi band as well as Jeff
NEW MEXICO BOWL
MARSHALL (7-5) vs. COLORADO STATE (7-5)
WHEN 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16
WHERE Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, N.M.
RADIO WDGG 93.7-FM
Siembieda, executive director of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, and his bowl committee. Members of the Visit Albuquerque team, led by Cecilia Padilla-Quillen, were there to share in the welcoming festivities for what Siembieda billed as “a great matchup that will draw lots of interest.” The game is an ESPN telecast.
When Marshall’s players stepped off the plane many could be seen with phones in hand recording the festivities. Players were all smiles as they stepped off to the sounds of the mariachi band.
“When we got off the plane we were just expecting to get out, feel the weather and get on a bus to roll, but getting off to a welcome like that and having the mariachi band there it really set the tone of why we are here, which is to have fun and to play a good game,” Marshall offensive lineman Levi Brown said. “That’s what it really did for us. It was a lot of fun.” Holliday even chimed in on the mariachi band.
“They were good,” he said with a smile. “I’m not sure we could even find that in West Virginia.”
The team loaded up and went to their hotel at the Sheraton where they were greeted by a sea of green and white with local fans cheering them on in Fat Patty’s shirts, which gave it a bit more of a home feel even though the team is 1,350 miles away from its home.
After settling in to the hotel and grabbing a quick bite to eat, the Herd went to the practice fields at the University of New Mexico for its first of two full practices on the site, which is located just across from Dreamstyle Stadium where Saturday’s contest will be.
“We had to get here early to get this practice in, but that’s why we wanted to practice down here,” Holliday said. “We wanted to get those guys off that plane and get them moving around a little bit. ... It was nice to get over there, get settled in and get here.”
Following Wednesday’s practice session, Marshall players and coaches got cleaned up and headed over to a welcome reception for both teams at Main Event Entertainment in Albuquerque.
The welcome reception offered plenty of fun with bowling, games, pool tables and plenty of space for both teams to mingle and get to know one another.
It was all part of a 15-hour day for the Herd, which was up and preparing to leave Huntington at what equated to early hours in the Southwest.
“We were doing the math on the plane and we’ve been up since 3 a.m. Mountain Time,” Marshall tight end Ryan Yurachek said. ”(It’s) a long day with a lot of excitement in it as well, so it doesn’t make it seem quite as long.”
Now that the Herd is settled in, the team gets back to a bit more normalcy Thursday.
Marshall will practice at noon Thursday before select players and Holliday go to Isleta Elementary School to speak with students and sign autographs.
Later in the evening, the two opposing teams will again be at a team dinner with this one featuring competitions in a series of games between the Herd and Rams.