8:03 pm
December 20

Marshall v. South Florida

Who will WIN this matchup?

Marshall Thundering Herd (8-4)

South Florida Bulls (7-5)


Current odds:

Marshall Thundering Herd: (-200)

South Florida Bulls: (+170)


 The line for this game is Marshall by 4 points.

 South Florida hopes to soothe the sting of a five-game losing streak that ended the regular season when it takes on Marshall in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl on Dec. 21 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The Bulls, who face the Thundering Herd for the first time, started the season with seven consecutive victories and had visions of a major bowl game before injury issues and a leaky defense (39.6 points per game allowed in losses) led to five double-digit setbacks. Marshall won three straight games to seal its fifth bowl appearance in six years before ending the regular season with a 41-20 loss at Virginia Tech.

• USF goes for its sixth win in seven bowl games after beating Texas Tech and South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl the last two years while the Thundering Herd have won six in a row, including a 31-28 triumph against Colorado State in the 2017 New Mexico Bowl. The Bulls, who are 6-3 overall in bowls, started that run with a 41-14 victory over Memphis in the St. Petersburg Bowl less than 30 minutes away at Tropicana Field in 2008. Marshall won the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl in 2011 and the St. Petersburg Bowl in 2015 at Tropicana Field and coach Doc Holliday told reporters: “The state of Florida has been good to our program for several years now and we’re excited to get back down to the Tampa area.”

• South Florida hopes to have a healthier offense after a four-week break following the 38-10 loss to No. 7 Central Florida on Nov. 23 and the Bulls, who averaged 35.6 points during their 7-0 start, will face a defense that allowed 22 points per game and tied for sixth in the nation with 39 sacks. USF did not have No. 1 quarterback Blake Barnett in two of its last three games because of a shoulder injury and he may return, but the Bulls will have a new play caller after offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert was hired as McNeese State’s new coach after the regular season. Marshall is permitting 103.9 rushing yards per contest while senior linebacker Chase Hancock leads the way with 98 tackles, junior lineman Ty Tyler boasts a team-best eight sacks and 11 players have an interception.

• Freshman quarterback Isaiah Green had a solid first year at the helm, throwing for 2,238 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but completed only 55.7 percent of his passes. Sophomore Tyler King rushed for 655 yards in the first seven games, but has been out the last five contests with an undisclosed injury, and freshman Brenden Knox picked up the slack with 485 in the last four – 204 against Virginia Tech. Senior receiver Tyre Brady, a Conference USA first-team pick, is the top target for Green after hauling in 66 passes for 914 yards and nine touchdowns this year.

• Barnett threw for 2,498 yards in 10 games, but had 11 interceptions to go along with 11 touchdown passes, and sophomore Chris Oladokun or junior Brett Kean would step in if the former Alabama quarterback can’t go. Junior Jordan Cronkrite has rushed for 1,095 yards – sixth most in a season at USF – and the top receiving targets are 5-11, 240-pound senior wideout Tyre McCants (58 catches, 612 yards, three TDs) along with junior tight end Mitchell Wilcox (40 receptions, 506 yards, two TDs). Senior linebacker Khalid McGee leads the beleaguered Bulls’ defense with 104 tackles.

• SFL-QB-Blake Barnett-Doubtful 

StreakSmarter Pick
Marshall Thundering Herd