By Tom Williams
University of Nebraska supporters will be well-represented by the Mahoning Valley tonight when the No. 21 Cornhuskers (4-1) enter Ohio Stadium to play the No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0).
Three of Nebraska’s coaches — head coach Bo Pelini, offensive coordinator Tim Beck and tight ends coach Vince Marrow — are Cardinal Mooney High graduates.
Three of the Cornhuskers players — senior wide receiver Tim Marlowe, sophomore center Mark Pelini and sophomore running back Braylon Heard — are Mooney graduates.
And Marrow’s son, Mike, is a junior fullback. He grew up in Holland, Ohio.
Leading the charge into the stadium will be Marlowe’s parents (Richard and Maureen “Muffin”) who will be surounded by an entourage of 34.
“Timothy worked very hard to get [the tickets],” Mrs. Marlowe said.
For five autumns, the Marlowes have been road warriors attending Nebraska games throughout the Midwest and beyond. She’s been to every Nebraska game since her son was a red-shirt freshman in fall 2008.
“Dick has been to most of [the games],” she said.
Tim Marlowe graduated from Mooney in 2008. During his four years at Mooney, the Cardinals under head coach P.J. Fecko played in four state title games (winning two, losing two).
This weekend, the Marlowes arranged tickets for 34 family members and friends, a family record. Mrs. Marlowe credited Tim for wheeling and dealing with his teammates to get the tickets.
Each Cornhusker is given four tickets for a game. If some players don’t need their full allotment, they trade for tickets for other games that might be closer to their homes.
Marlowe’s roommate, defensive end Cameron Meredith, and Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez are from California so when Nebraska played at UCLA four weeks ago, Meredith and Martinez were busy acquiring extra tickets.
If the athletic department has any unsold tickets, parents may purchase them. It’s hard to imagine there were an unsold tickets for tonight’s showdown.
For Brian Marrow, the head coach of Youngstown Christian and Vince’s brother, the stars aligned for a family reunion when two Pennsylvania schools decided they were unable to play his Eagles this weekend.
Vince Marrow, a graduate of the Univeristy of Toledo,is in his second season with the Cornhuskers as a graduate assistant coach. Like Bo Pelini and Beck, Marrow played for Don Bucci at Mooney.
Before joining the Cornhuskers, Marrow was tight end coach for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. After playing for Youngstown State and Toledo, Marrow played for five NFL teams before becoming a coach.
Originally, Youngstown Christian was scheduled today to play Imani Christian, a team from Pittsburgh. But Imani Christian dropped the game when the school joined the WPIAL. Youngstown Christian then booked Union.
“Sometime during two-a-day practices [in August], that game was dropped,” said Marrow, giving his family a chance to plan a trip to Columbus.
Brian’s wife, Valencia, and his brother, Duane of Austintown, will be attending the game. The Marrows’ daughter Nicole and her daughter Nylah live in from Lexington, Ky., and will spend the weekend in Columbus.
Heard said his mother, Michelle Sullivan, and several aunts will be at the Ohio State game.
Among those going in the Marlowe contingent are Tim’s godparents, Bill and Andrea Adams of Youngstown.
“Bill is a diehard Ohio State fan,” Mrs. Marlowe said, “and has an Ohio State tattoo. Well when Timothy scored a touchdown against Northwestern last season, Bill added a Nebraska tattoo to honor his godson.”
On roadtrips, parents don’t spend much time with their sons, who are busy with team preparations before the game and return home after the lockerroom empties.
“Sometimes, you see them on the field and wave,” Mrs. Marlowe said of the commotion surrounding a college football team.
On Dec. 15, Marlowe — currently out with a broken clavicle — will graduate with a degree in communications.
Brian Marrow, who was Heard’s Little League coach years ago, said he hasn’t thought about what colors he will wear to the game. Then he admitted that he doesn’t own any Ohio State clothing.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Marrow said “it’s kind of tough” rooting for other Big Ten teams in Ohio State country.
“Last like week when Nebraska played Wisconsin, I was torn,” he admitted of the Cornhuskers’ 30-27 victory.
The Marlowes have made many friends on their trips.
“Nebraskans travel very, very well,” Mrs. Marlowe said. “We have friends who left [Wednesday] for Columbus.
“We’re big fans of all the Ohio teams — Browns, Indians, Cavaliers, Ohio State,” Mrs. Marlowe said. “Just not Saturday.”