Ohio State started its 2021 campaign on Thursday night, and a good portion of the Ohio Valley Publishing area will be tuned in this weekend as Ohio, Marshall and West Virginia all begin their fall gridiron campaigns.
The Bobcats begin the post-Frank Solich era on Saturday night against the Orange of Syracuse, and Ohio is the only home team of the three local programs this weekend.
The Thundering Herd begin their post-Doc Holliday era against the Midshipmen of Navy, while the Mountaineers open their third season under Neal Brown in Maryland against the Terrapins.
Here’s a brief look at each of the season opening matchups.
Syracuse at Ohio
The Ohio University football team open its season at 7 p.m. Saturday at Peden Stadium against the Syracuse Orange.
The Bobcats are 0-2 all-time against the Orange, with their last meeting taking place in 1921.
The Bobcats only played three games in the 2020 season, all in MAC play, going 2-1.
Some top returners include senior running back De’Montre Tuggle and senior safety Jarren Hampton.
The Bobcats will also be headed by first-year head coach Tim Albin, who has been with the program since 2005.
Albin takes over from 16-year head coach Frank Solich, who retired prior to the 2021 season to focus on his health.
Marshall at Navy
The Marshall Thundering Herd opens their 2021 campaign at 3:30 p.m. Saturday with a road game against the Navy Midshipmen.
This will be the first meeting of the two programs.
The Herd’s 2020 season started off in a promising way, jetting out to a 7-0 record, including a 17-7 victory against No. 23 Appalachian State, but dropped the last three games of the season, including the Conference USA championship against the UAB Blazers and the Camellia Bowl to the Buffalo Bulls to finish with a 7-3 record.
Marshall also rose up to the No. 16 rank in the AP Poll and No. 21 in the College Football Rankings during the 2020 season.
Top returners to the Green and White include redshirt freshman quarterback Grant Wells and junior cornerback Steven Gilmore.
After the resignation of 11-year head coach Doc Holliday, the Herd will now be led by Charles Huff, who spent the last two football seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama.
West Virginia at Maryland
WVU football will start the 2021 season at 3:30 p.m. Saturday with a road game against the Maryland Terrapins.
The Mountaineers hold a 28-22-2 series lead over the rival Terrapins, with the last meeting taking place in the 2015 season, a 45-6 victory for WVU.
The Blue and Gold finished their 2020 campaign with a 6-4 record, 4-4 in conference play.
Notable victories from last season include a 37-10 win at home vs. No. 16 Kansas State and a 24-21 triumph against the Army Black Knights in the Liberty Bowl.
Notable returners include senior running back Leddie Brown and senior defensive tackle Dante Stills.
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Colton Jeffries can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.