Marshall-ECU game date moved, will honor 1970 crash victims

Marshall and East Carolina will open the 2020 football season a week early to accommodate a national television broadcast marking the 50th anniversary of the worst disaster in U.S. sports history

The schools announced Thursday that the game originally set for Sept. 5 in Greenville now will be played Aug. 29. The network was not announced.

It remains the deadliest crash involving a sports team in U.S. history.

Marshall holds a memorial service each year at a campus fountain dedicated to the crash victims.

“We are grateful to Jon Gilbert and everyone at East Carolina University for their efforts in making this schedule change come to fruition,” Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said. “Our people, our universities and our football programs will forever be linked by the tragedy that occurred 50 years ago. This change will allow a national audience to join us in paying proper respect to the 75.”

East Carolina leads the series with Marshall 10-5. The schools are scheduled to meet again in 2021 and 2025 in Huntington and 2023 in Greenville.

One of Marshall’s victories was 64-61 in double overtime in the 2001 GMAC Bowl. The Thundering Herd came back from a 38-8 halftime deficit behind quarterback Byron Leftwich, who threw for a bowl-record 576 yards.

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