Harvey D. Peyton
CHARLESTON – Cory Dennison played football for Marshall University, and he's now a third-year law student at West Virginia University.
But when it comes to picking sides in Wednesday's annual Toyota Capital Classic basketball game, he isn't torn.
He bleeds green and white.
"Whenever Marshall and West Virginia play each other, I cheer for the Thundering Herd," said Dennison, who was Marshall's long snapper from 1998 to 2002. "Playing there for five years, you have to cheer for them."
But when the teams aren't playing each other, Dennison pulls for the Mountaineers.
"I cheer for both teams," he said. "And I hope Mountaineer fans do the same for the Herd.
"I want both teams to do well, but Marshall's my true love," said Dennison, who hails from Barboursville and played high school ball at Cabell Midland. "So that sometimes makes it hard being up here at WVU."
But last year's 59-55 Herd upset victory made things easier for Dennison.
"That was a great game," he said. "I met my parents and went to the game. I didn't think it was going to be a very good game. But as the game went on, I got more and more excited. I wore MU clothes next day. Green and white, head to toe. I didn't have to say anything.
I cheer for both teams. And I hope Mtnr fans do the same for Herd fans.
Dennison remembers a WVU law school trip to Charleston to watch the annual basketball matchup during his first year in Morgantown.
"Everyone else was wearing blue and gold, but I was wearing my green and white," he said proudly. "In fact, I'm wearing my Marshall hat right now as we speak."
Martha Hill might not have played football for the Herd, but she can sympathize with Dennison's predicament.
Hill, an administrative law judge in the Office of Judges, received her undergraduate degree from Marshall in 1975 and her law degree from WVU in 1978.
"I like both schools, but my heart's in Huntington," she said, noting that she and her husband attended WVU's victory over Georgia earlier this month in the Sugar Bowl.
She jokingly said she has to like WVU because "my husband has three degrees from there."
She said she takes some good-natured ribbing from WVU fans.
"I catch it at the office," she said.
But she also can dish it out.
"I just hope the game is like last year's," she said, referring to the Herd victory over a Mountaineer team that went on to make it to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight. "I just want a repeat."
Now, to the other side …
"I'm looking for revenge from last year," said Nitro attorney Harvey D. Peyton, an avid WVU fan. "They (Marshall) are going to get what they asked for. I'm looking for an 18-point shellacking."
After making his prediction, Peyton went on to talk about the positive effects of the annual basketball matchup in Charleston.
"I think that although it's a non-conference game right in the middle of their conference schedules and that both teams had that, it's a good thing for both schools," he said.
Charleston attorney Steve Goodwin of Goodwin & Goodwin also is vice chairman of WVU's Board of Governors.
"Everyone on both sides looks forward to this game all year long," he said. "It brings everyone together in one place. It's so good for the state."
Goodwin also predicts a WVU victory Wednesday.
"We're just that much better than last year," he said. "This team has shown it can have a bad night and still put it all together to get a win."
At press time, the 13-3 Mountaineers are on an 11-game winning streak and are ranked No. 12 in The Associated Press Top 25. WVU visited No. 18 UCLA on Saturday. Marshall, 7-8, played host to UTEP on Saturday.