We Are Marshall

Question: Did they ever say what caused the plane to crash?

Answer: The did not mention it in the film, but here is a short explanation of what happened. The plane was on final approach, less than 6000 feet from the runway, and the weather was rainy and foggy. The tower communicated to the pilots that landing would be more difficult due to the weather and poor visibilty, but not impossible. The pilots couldn't see very well, and the plane collided with the tops of trees on a hillside located on the west side of the runway. The plane "inverted" and crashed almost upside down into the ground, creating a huge ball of fire and intense heat. The exact cause of the crash was never fully determined by the National Transportation Safety Board, although it was believed that the cause was due to "adverse operating conditions" and descent below "minimum descent altitude." (For more info, you can research "Southern Airways Flight 932")


Question: Why didn't the NCAA let freshmen play football before 1971? What were their reasons for not wanting freshmen to play?

Answer: The original idea was to force Freshmen players to gradually adapt to both a tougher form of football and the tougher academic requirements of college.


Question: Did the Morehead state game against Marshall in 1971 happen as shown in the movie? How did Morehead state score their touchdowns in the actual game?

Answer: According to Wikipedia: "For the season opener, the team visited the Morehead State Eagles for the I-64 Rivalry. Despite losing 29-6, the [Thundering] Herd (Marshall's team nickname) managed to score late in the game with Reggie Oliver's touchdown pass to Tom Smyth, prompting a standing ovation from the crowd." I have been unable to find a play-by-play account of the Morehead State touchdowns.

Michael Albert

Answer: Yes they did. In addition to selecting football players from Marshall's Junior Varsity team, the coaches also recruited several players from other sports. Some of those athletes had never played on an organized football team previously.


Correct me if I'm wrong but wouldn't it have been awfully risky to recruit athletes who've never played football in their lives?

Not necessarily. Since they were already collegiate level athletes, it is likely they were quite physically fit. Those who had little football experience were likely used as bench players and saw little on field action.


I don't know that your statement that those who had little football were likely used, as bench players and saw little on field action is true. See, most of Marshall's experienced football players were killed in the plane crash which the movie is about.

There were about 20 freshmen players and several upperclassmen from the varsity team who weren't on the tragic flight that played the 1971 season. The majority of the team were at the very least, experienced high school players. The number of athletes on the team that had NEVER played on a football team before was low, but it was noteworthy.


Question: After Jack hits his shoulder Nate starts crying, and says they left it in his hands. What is he talking about?

Answer: As I understood it, Nate is feeling the burden of making sure the team won and feels his injury prevented that. "They" are the coaches and players that died in the plane crash. Nate is saying when they died, they left the responsibility of the program in his hands. Jack (his new head coach) replies that they "just left", meaning even though the died, they didn't leave the responsibilities on Nate.


Question: Is it true that Marshall lost more football games in the 70s than any other program in the nation?

Answer: Not quite, at least for Division 1 schools. Marshall had a record of 22-84 from '70-'79. UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso) had a record of 23-87 during the same time. So, while UTEP did lose more games, they had a slightly higher win percentage.


Well, the narration says that Marshall lost more football games in the 70s than any other program in the nation.

I was only giving both perspectives to answer the question. The statement made is not quite true since UTEP did lose more. When comparing teams win-loss records, you generally take into account the number of games played.


Factual error: During the Marshall-Xavier game the announcer refers to Xavier as the "Pirates", but Xavier's nickname is and was "Musketeers".

logan crews

More mistakes in We Are Marshall

Nate Ruffin: Coach, that... was my team. They left it in my hands.
Jack Lengyel: No... no, they did not. They just left.

More quotes from We Are Marshall
More trivia for We Are Marshall

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