Military Bowl College Football Odds And Predictions: Marshall Thundering Herd vs Maryland Terrapins

2013 Military Bowl
Marshall Thundering Herd vs Maryland Terrapins

Navy Memorial Stadium – Annapolis, Maryland
Friday, December 27, 2013, 2:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Marshall -1
Current Line: Marshall -2 1/2
Opening Total: 59 1/2
Current Total: 62
Opening Money Line: Marshall -135 / Maryland +115
Current Money Line: Marshall -135 / Maryland +115

Marshall is a 2.5 point favorite against Maryland in the Military Bowl in Annapolis.
Marshall is a 2.5 point favorite against Maryland in the Military Bowl in Annapolis.

The 9-4 Marshall Thundering Herd take on the 7-5 Maryland Terrapins Friday in the Military Bowl. The Terrapins make the short 30 mile trip to Annapolis for the game. Despite being just over 400 miles from each other, Marshall and Maryland have never played each other before.

Marshall won the Conference USA East Division with a 7-1 record. The Thundering Herd lost at Rice 41-24 in the Conference USA Championship game. Marshall is 7-3 all-time in bowl games. The Herd have won two straight bowls including 20-10 over Florida International in the 2011 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg, Florida. Marshall has never palyed in this bowl before or played an ACC team in a bowl before.

Maryland went 3-5 in the ACC Atlantic Division. Maryland is 11-11-2 all-time in bowl games. The Terrapins have won two straight bowl games including the 2010 Military Bowl 51-20 over East Carolina when the game was played in Washington, DC. That was also the only time Maryland played a Conference USA team in a bowl game.

Marshall is coached by Doc Holliday. The Thundering Herd have home wins over Miami-(OH) 52-14, Gardner-Webb 55-0, Texas-San Antonio 34-10, Southern Miss 61-13  UAB 56-14 and East Carolina 59-28,  along with road wins at Florida Atlantic 24-23, Tulsa 45-34 and at Florida International 48-10. Marshall has road losses at Ohio 34-31, Virginia Tech 29-21 in triple overtime and Middle Tennessee 51-49. The Thundering Herd are 8-5 ATS and the total is 8-5 this season. Marshall was a 6.5 point favorite against Rice and the total was 64.5.

Marshall is outscoring teams 43-23 this season. The Thundering Herd are #7 in scoring and #33 in points allowed nationally. Marshall is averaging 502.3 yards per game including 291.2 passing and 211.2 rushing yards. The Herd are #13 in total offense and #21 in  passing and #23 rushing nationally. On defense, Marshall is allowing 366.8 yards per game, including 208.9 passing and 157.9 rushing yards. The Thundering Herd are #33 nationally in total offense and #24 in passing defense. Marshall is +2 in turnovers with 25 takeaways. The Thundering Herd are averaging 46 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 47. Marshall is 114/216 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 88/236. The Herd have forced 29 sacks and allowed 25 this season. Marshall is 56/61 scoring in the red zone with 48 touchdowns and opponents are 41/50 with 30 touchdowns. Marshall has a punt return for a touchdown and 3 pick sixes this season and has allowed a fumble return and 2 punt returns for touchdowns.

Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato has completed 59.3% of his passes for 3,579 yards with 36 touchdowns and 9 interceptions along with 92 carries, 276 yards and 6 touchdowns. Back-up Blake Frohnapfel has thrown for 206 yards with 3 touchdowns and a pick, along with 11 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Running back Essray Taliaferro has 202 carries, for 1,059 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 11 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. Steward Butler has 86 carries, 762 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus 3 catches. Kevin Grooms has 91 carries for 503 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Wide receiver Tommy Shuler has 97 catches for 1,097 yards and 9 touchdowns. Gator Hoskins has 44 catches for 717 yards and 13 touchdowns.  Devon Smith has 34 catches, 599 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with a punt return for a touchdown.  Craig Wilkins has 29 catches for 373 yards and 2 touchdowns. Devon Johnson, Davonte Allen, and Eric Frohnapel each have two touchdown catches.  Four defensive players and two offensive linemen are listed as questionable or out Friday.

Maryland is coached by Randy Edsall. The Terrapins have road losses at Florida State 63-0 and Wake Forest 34-10, along with home losses to Clemson 40-27, Syracuse 20-3, and Boston College 29-26. Maryland has home wins over Florida International 43-10, Old Dominion 47-10, West Virginia 37-0 (in Baltimore), and Virginia 27-26, along with road wins at Connecticut 32-21, Virginia Tech 27-24 in overtime, and at North Carolina State 41-21 to close out the regular season. After a 5-1 start, Maryland went 2-4 in the last six games. The Terrapins are 7-5 ATS and the total is 8-4 this season. Maryland was a 3 point favorite at NC State and the total was 50.

Maryland is outscoring teams 27-25 this season. The Terrapins are averaging 397 yards per game including 252.4 passing yards and 144.6 rushing yards per game. Maryland is allowing 367.7 yards per game on defense including 215.8 passing yards and 151.9  rushing yards per game. The Terrapins are #36 in total defense nationally and #35 against the pass. Maryland is -6 in turnovers with 21 takeaways and 27 giveaways. Maryland averages 36 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 43. The Terps are 62/190 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 69/203. Maryland has forced 36 sacks this season and allowed 24. Maryland is 35/43 scoring in the red zone with 21 touchdowns and opponents are 43/48 with 26 touchdowns. The Terrapins have 2 pick sixes and a punt return for a touchdown this season.

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brownhas completed 58.9% of his passes for 2,045 yards with 11 touchdowns and 6 picks. He also has 121 carries for 538 yards and 12 touchdowns. He missed a couple of games earlier in the season. Back-up quarterback Caleb Rowe has thrown for 989 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 25 rushing yards.

Running back  Brandon Ross has 146 carries, 660 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 17 catches for 165 yards. Albert Reid has 67 carries for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 6 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Two of the top three  receivers for the Terrapins are out for the season with leg injuries. Stefon Diggs and Deon Long combined for 66 receptions, over 1,000 yards and 4 touchdowns. Lavern Jacobs has 40 catches, 540 yards and 2 touchdowns. Deon Long has 32 catches for 589 yards and a touchdown. Amba Etta-Tawo has 29 catches for 449 yards and 2 touchdowns. Nigel King has 31 catches for 428 yards and 4 touchdowns. Dave Stinebaugh has 13 catches for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. Three other little used receivers and a tight end are questionable or out for the Terps. In all, 19 players are listed on the injury report for Maryland including 9 defensive players.

Marshall is 5-1 ATS i non-conference games, 4-1 after failing to cover, against teams with winning records, and after allowing 40 points or more, 5-2 on fieldturf, and 2-5 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards.

Maryland is 5-0 ATS in non-conference games, 4-0 in neutral site games, 4-1 in bowl games and 5-2 against teams with winning records.

Marshall has a top 15 offense and top 35 defense. Regardless of the bad game against Rice, I still think Marshall is a better team than Maryland. Especially when you consider how much Maryland has been decimated by injuries. Still this will be a virtual home game for the Terrapins in nearby Annapolis. I think Maryland keeps it close, but Marshall wins.

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