Dave Ryan Reflects On Epic 2001 GMAC Bowl Between Marshall, East Carolina

In 2001, Marshall's Byron Leftwich engineered one of the most incredible comebacks in college football history

The DA Show
July 09, 2020 - 11:10 am
Byron Leftwich NFL

USA Today Images


Reporter Dave Ryan dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss one of the most memorable bowl games in college football history: the 2001 GMAC Bowl between the Marshall Thundering Herd and the East Carolina Pirates.

While these programs might not be the elite of the elite in college football, their bowl game that year was, in a word, epic. Marshall trailed 38-8 at halftime but came back to win 64-61 in double overtime.

Ryan, who had sideline duties that night, reflected on his memories from that game.

“Unless it’s the semifinals and the championship, it’s not really that significant of a game. It doesn’t mean that much to a college football fan or maybe even a broadcaster,” he began on The DA Show. “But if you’re on the ground and you’re watching these guys and you’re with these teams and the fans, to them, it’s a national championship game. It means everything. Winning and losing, there’s such a huge difference in any college football bowl game. There’s something about the significance of these games. There’s nothing like that particular game. Marshall was so down.”

Marshall trailed by 30 at halftime but outscored East Carolina 28-3 in the third quarter to pull within 41-36 entering the fourth quarter. It was white knuckles the rest of the way, as Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich threw the game-winning 8-yard touchdown pass to Josh Davis in the second overtime. 

Leftwich finished 41-of-70 for 576 yards and four touchdowns.

“As a sideline guy, you’re trying to stay on the sideline of the team that’s up and winning and has the momentum,” Ryan said. “Well, I kept shifting and running back and forth because it was such a wild offensive fireworks type game that no one could gain the momentum, especially in the second half. Our expert announcers thought it would be a low-scoring game; it was anything but that. The personalities, the coaches, the players – it was something to remember. It’s one of my highlights. I’m glad to talk about it.”