GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina and Marshall, two programs which share both a competitive rivalry on the playing field and an association of tragedy, have agreed to a two-year home-and-home football series in 2020 and 2021 according to a joint announcement by both institutions Thursday.
The Pirates and Thundering Herd will renew a 15-game series that dates back to 1967 by meeting at ECU's Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Sept. 5, 2020 before following with a contest in Huntington on Sept. 11, 2021.
Marshall's visit to Greenville in the opener will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of the tragic Southern Airways charter plane crash which claimed the lives of 70 passengers and five crewmembers returning from the Herd's game in Greenville on Nov. 14, 1970.
"ECU and Marshall have enjoyed a great rivalry and this series presents an opportunity to recognize and properly pay tribute to a tragedy that ties the communities of Greenville and Huntington together," East Carolina Director of Athletics Jeff Compher said. "There is a special bond between our universities and I am especially pleased we are able to come together in the spirit of support and cooperation."
The two teams were Conference USA East Division opponents for nine years before the Pirates accepted membership in the American Athletic Conference, where it will begin competition this fall. Dramatic finishes have been the recent trademark of the series as ECU and Marshall have extended play to overtime in two of the last three (and three of the last six) battles to determine division championships or bowl eligibility status.
In addition, the series features a thrilling 64-61 overtime win by the Herd in the 2001 GMAC Bowl.
The Pirates closed out its 17-year C-USA tenure with a 10-3 record in 2013 and made their seventh bowl appearance in the last eight seasons - a 37-20 triumph over Ohio in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.
Marshall, which downed ECU 59-28 to clinch the division title in the regular season finale last Nov. 29 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, finished with a 10-4 mark and a 31-20 victory over Maryland in the Military Bowl.