CHARLESTON, W.Va. and DENVER, CO. – A food bank in Colorado and one in West Virginia are about to get a $50 donation each, thanks to a friendly wager between two Secretaries of State over a football bowl game.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is backing the Colorado State University Rams while Secretary of State Mac Warner supports the West Virginia team - the Marshall University Thundering Herd. The two teams are competing in the 12th annual Gildan New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque next Saturday, December 16th. Both teams have identical records: 7-5.
Colorado State is a member of the Mountain West Conference. Marshall is a member of Conference USA.
“I truly believe we have another really good match-up which should result in another fun, entertaining game,” said Jeff Siembieda, Gildan New Mexico Bowl executive director. “To be able to put together two programs with such a strong post-season history is exciting and I’m looking forward to hosting The Thundering Herd and Rams in Albuquerque.”
Colorado State is bowl-eligible for the fifth straight season after winning its first four league games earlier this season. It is the Rams third appearance in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, having won in both 2008 and 2013. CSU is led by four All-Mountain West First Team honorees including quarterback Nick Stevens, who ranks 11th in the country in passing yards, and wide receiver Michael Gallup, who is fourth in the nation in reception yards. Mike Bobo is at the helm of the Rams and has led them to a bowl game in each of his three seasons.
Marshall is bowl-eligible after a red-hot 6-1 start to the season. The Thundering Herd have the top rushing defense in Conference USA and second best scoring defense, allowing just 19.2 points per game. The Herd, who boast a five-game bowl win streak, is making their first appearance in the Albuquerque-based Bowl game. They are guided by Doc Holliday, who is a perfect 4-0 in bowl games as a head coach for The Herd. Marshall is 10-2 overall in bowl games and have won 10 of their last 11 dating back to 1998.
Williams ribbed Warner over the wager in a phone call on Thursday.
“We are not Marshall,” Williams said, referring the movie, "We Are Marshall." "I am confident in the athletes at Colorado State to represent us well. Go Rams!"
“Well, in West Virginia, We ARE Marshall and we’re proud of the Thundering Herd,” Warner said.
Warner is in his first year as West Virginia’s Secretary of State. A graduate of West Point and the WVU College of Law, Warner said that the entire state of West Virginia is behind Marshall. Warner is convinced that Marshall will win the game.
Warner has made a similar wager with Utah’s Lt. Governor Spencer Cox regarding the West Virginia University Mountaineers. WVU will play Utah in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on December 26th in Dallas, TX.
As part of the friendly wager, both Warner and Williams will donate $50 to a local food bank in their own state. However, the donations have to be made in the name of the winning football team.
The Gildan New Mexico Bowl will air on ESPN starting at 4:30 p.m. ET on December 16th.