Marshall Thundering Herd (8-4) vs South Florida Bulls (7-5)
NCAA Football: Thursday, December 20, 2018, 8:00 PM (Raymond James Stadium)
Line and Odds: Marshall -3 Over/Under: 51.5
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This will be the first time these two teams meet. The two teams come in both losing their final regular season game. Their records are very similar. Many people will say this yet another home game for the South Florida Bulls. The Bulls had issues with attendance all year, but their numbers are up. Both teams had big wins and disappointing losses. They will both try to send their senior classes out with a victory. This is a good matchup for both teams. This is a small bowl that will lead up to the big 6 bowl games.
Marshall won three straight games coming into the make up game against Virginia Tech. When they won those three games, they became bowl eligible. They would lose to Virginia Tech. Another loss came against Southern Miss in which they were favored. The Herd rank in the middle of the pack on all three phases of the ball. They will have to be ready for a game.
The Herd is 5-0 under their current head coach. The streak started in 2004. The Herd will be using weapons like Tyre Brady. He leads the team with 9 touchdowns. When he gets to 100 yards, they are 4-0. Look for the Herd to focus on him. If Brady is held to minimal yards the Herd have struggled offensively. In their last game, he only accounted for 25 yards.
The Bulls season started off with a bang. They went undefeated in their first 7 games. The Bulls struggled in the final 5. They were outplayed in all three sides of the ball. Head coach Charlie Strong had no answers during the losing streak. In the final press conference, he may or may not have thrown his players under the bus. The Bulls like the Herd had their up and downs.
If the Bulls run the ball they win. The running game featured Jordan Cronkrite, Johnny Ford and quarterback Blake Barnett. When all three of them were finding holes that the offensive line opened it was easy to win. On the flip side if they were able to control the line of scrimmage they won. If the Herd can run the ball and the Bulls can’t counteract it will be a rough night. The Bulls will also have to make sure they don’t get beat in the air. In the final two games, the Tulane Green Wave and Central Florida Golden Knights were able to run and pass the ball. They had no answer for either and were outplayed. The Bulls win must figure out the plan that they used in the first seven games and they will come out on top.
This game featured two teams that come in wanting to win. Both have very good bowl records. Look for them to both come out and try to dominate offensively. The team that can do that will make the other night miserable. Look for special teams to be a factor. The game might come down to a kick, punt return of a field goal. These teams are both trying to get back to a major bowl game. It has been a tough end for both teams. Tampa is a good venue especially when the Bulls have another home game. Look for an all-out battle on Thursday night.
My Pick: South Florida -3