• 55°

Herd to play home & home with Purdue

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

Marshall University athletics director Mike Hamrick announced Thursday that the Thundering Herd had signed a home-and-home football series with Big Ten Conference member Purdue.

“We’re excited to have a Big Ten team coming to Huntington,” said Hamrick. “This series goes along with our schedule philosophy and that is to schedule on a home and home basis with automatic qualifying BCS conference schools.”

The Boilermakers will host Marshall on Sept. 29, 2012, and then return the visit on Sept. 16, 2017. The game will mark the first visit by a Big Ten team to Marshall.

Marshall announced late last year that the Herd would play a home-and-home series with Big East member Louisville and ACC power Virginia Tech.

Hamrick said signing teams with relative close proximity should benefit the fans.

“This is also an excellent game for our fans with Purdue, a great Big Ten venue, being an easy drive from Huntington,” said Hamrick.

The two programs have a coaching tie. Purdue defensive backs assistant Lou Anarumo who was an assistant at Marshall from 2001-03 while new Herd offensive offensive coordinator Bill Legg coached at Purdue from 2003-07.

Marshall will start next season with two BCS schools including the opener at Big Ten defending champion Ohio State on Sept. 4 followed by a home game against West Virginia on Sept. 11.

The Herd plays two Mid-American Conference teams, visiting Bowling Green on Sept. 18 and hosting Ohio on Sept. 25. Marshall beat Ohio 21-17 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26.

Other future games against non-Conference USA programs include:

2011: Sept. 3 at West Virginia; Sept. 17 at Ohio; Sept. 24 Virginia Tech; Oct. 1 at Louisville;

2012: Sept. 1 at West Virginia; Sept. 15 Ohio; Sept. 29 at Purdue;

2013: Aug. 31 Miami, Ohio; Sept. 14 at Ohio; Sept. 21 at 2014: Aug. 30 at Miami, Ohio; Sept. 13 Ohio; Sept. 27 Louisville;

2015: Sept. 12 at Ohio; 2017: Sept. 16 Purdue.