Military Bowl Matchup:Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Maryland Terrapins
Date/Time: December 27th, 2:30 PM ET
Spread: Marshall -2.5
Here at Bang the Book, we are always keeping our eyes open for the best games to bet on each and every week. Of all of the games on the docket for the second week of the bowl season, the one we are zeroing in on is the Military Bowl, where the Maryland Terrapins take on the Marshall Thundering Herd at 2:30 p.m. ET on Friday, December 27th.
The bowl season will be six days old when we get to the Military Bowl, and we think there is a great opportunity to back the ‘over’ in the game between the Thundering Herd and the Terrapins.
The easy team to look at in regards to the ‘over’ is Marshall. The Thundering Herd scored at least 45 points in six consecutive contests before getting beaten by the Rice Owls in the Conference USA Championship Game by the Rice Owls, but even that game made it past the ‘total’ as well.
QB Rakeem Cato and the gang probably underachieved this season from what we were expecting, to tell you the truth. Last season, Cato threw for 4,201 yards and 37 TDs, and this season, he isn’t even going to reach 4,000 yards, though he could reach 40 scores. Remember too, that Cato threw the ball 584 times in just 12 games last year, and he has thrown in 455 times in 13 games this season. Cato only had one 400+ yard passing game and just two 300+ yard passing games, though he did finish out the season with at least 250 yards in five out of six games.
This offense is quite explosive for sure. TE Gator Hoskins is one of the best pass catching tight ends in the game right now, and he has hauled in 717 yards and 13 scores for the Thundering Herd. WR Tommy Shuler has accounted for 1,097 yards and nine TDs, and with three receptions, he’ll hit 100 for the campaign.
The ground game kept up this season as well, and that’s why the Thundering Herd are in a bowl game this year, as opposed to last season when they finished 5-7. RB Essray Taliaferro, RB Steward Butler, and RB Kevin Grooms combined for over 2,300 rushing yards and 23 TDs on the season, and that took a lot of pressure off of Cato and the passing game.
You might look at the defense, which averaged allowing just 23.2 points per game this year and wonder if the Terrapins are going to be able to score on this unit, but we suggest only looking at the games which Marshall has played this year against bowl eligible teams. It’s easy to get fat off of the parts of Conference USA which stink, but against the bowl teams this year, the Herd allowed 36.6 points per game.
It’s not like Maryland is slouching either. The Terrapins did have some offensive struggles for sure this season, and the low point was probably a 20-3 loss against the Syracuse Orange. However, from that point forward, Maryland scored 27, 26, and 41 points in their final three games, and they ended up going past the ‘total’ in all three efforts.
QB CJ Brown has come on strong this season on the ground for the Terps. He has put up 538 yards and 12 TDs, and he has really made the quarterback position one of great dynamics this year for Head Coach Randy Edsall. Without WR Stefon Diggs, who tore his ACL earlier this year, there aren’t a lot of major offensive weapons to choose from, but in the end, the team is putting up enough points to be considered a success story in the ACC.
We have to think that this game is relatively comparable to games against the Connecticut Huskies and West Virginia Mountaineers at the start of the season, and in those two games, Maryland put up 32 and 37 points. Sure, the team was smacked around by Syracuse and the Florida State Seminoles, but in the end, there were nine games this season out of 12 with at least 26 points scored. This is probably only around an average defense at best when you consider what Maryland has played against this season.
In the end, these two teams have a great history of playing ‘over’ contests. We all know just how well the Marshall offense has played, and it has played in seven consecutive ‘over’ contests, and ever since putting up just three points against Syracuse, the Terps have held their own and have played three straight games past the number as well. We think this is one of these games which is going to fly past the number when push comes to shove, even if the recent bowl games which both teams have played have boiled down to being lower scoring games. These two teams should both easily get into the 30s.
College Football Pick of the Week: Over 62
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.