Central Florida Knights (3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Marshall Thundering
Herd (1-4 SU, 1-4 ATS), Week 7 NCAA Football, 8:00 p.m. EST,
Wednesday, October 13, 2010, Edwards Stadium, Huntington, W.Va., TV:
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: UCF -6.5/Marsh +6.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
Fresh off of their destruction of UAB on national television last
Wednesday, the Central Florida Knights will look to keep their
momentum rolling downhill when they go on the road for another big
Conference USA game Wednesday night against the Marshall Thundering
Herd on ESPN.
The Knights dominated all three phases of the game against UAB last
week, putting a sound, 42-7, beat down on the Blazers in both teams
conference opener. Central Florida moved the ball (399 total yards)
and was solid on 3rd down (6-for-10) on offense, then forced three
turnovers and ran an interception back for a score on defense to
notch their first win in Conference USA play and keep them in the
hunt for the East Division title.
Marshall was on the other end of the spectrum in their Conference USA
opener a week and a half ago, getting throttled by Southern
Mississippi 41-16 in a game where the Thundering Herd only managed
170 yards of total offense. The Herd had more penalties (12) than
first downs in the game (11) and was trailing 31-0 before most fans
got back to their seats following halftime.
The Herd will have had 11 days to get things corrected for their
national television showdown with the Knights on ESPN Wednesday,
something new Marshall coach Doc Holliday desperately needs to help
him turn things around on their 1-4 season.
Offensively, both of these teams are limited with what they can do.
Central Florida runs the same spread-formation, option-read offense
that everyone and their brother is running in college football these
days. With quarterback Jeff Godfrey (leading rusher 283 yards) and
running back Ronnie Weaver (5 TD) the Knights have a solid ground
game that is averaging 192.8 yards per game (32nd). But Godfrey is a
much better runner than passer (only 64 percent, 1 TD, 2 INT), so the
Knights can get very predictable and one-dimensional when they go
against a strong defense.
But the Marshall defense might not be good enough to make the Knights
one-dimensional. With a bunch of returning starters the Herd defense
was expected to better than they have been so far, allowing over 400
yards of offense each week (418.2 ypg 96th) and a whopping 35.4
points per game thus far.
Marshalls defense might be a little better if they didnt have to play so many snaps each week, because the Herd offense is struggling
to adapt to Hollidays new offensive scheme. It all starts at
quarterback and Brian Anderson has struggled, connecting on just 57
percent of his passes and throwing for nearly as many interceptions
(5) as touchdowns (8). When you add the fact that the running game
isnt clicking yet either (leading rusher Martin Ward has only 250
yards through FIVE games), you get a good understanding of why the
Herd has only scored 19.2 points per game this season.
The Herd did run a kickoff back for a score in their last game versus
Southern Miss, so the special teams units are coming along. Marshall
just needs a breakout game from its offense to get things back on
track in 2010.
But that could be a big task this week because the Central Florida defense in one of the strongest units in the country. Allowing just
265.2 yards per game through the first five contests, and just 148 in
the air (5th), the Knights are the 9th-ranked defense in the NCAA.
Those numbers would be one thing if they came against a cupcake
schedule, but the Knights took North Carolina State to the wire (lost
28-21) and nearly upset Kansas State on the road a few week back
(lost 17-13), so the Knights are legit.
Central Florida is also riding a big winning streak against the Herd
in recent years, winning the last five years straight including their
last two visits to Edwards Stadium in Huntington.
The Knights have also been friendly to gamblers in the head-to-head
series as well, winning five straight games against the spread up
until last years 21-20 victory at home. Marshall covered last year
as 7-point underdogs on the road, the first time since 2003 they
covered the number in the series.
Most of those Knights ATS covers came as underdogs, which explains
why the dog is a solid 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. Central
Florida is also 4-0 ATS in their last four C-USA games too, and a
solid 9-1 ATS in their last 10 on the road and 4-0 ATS in their last
four visits to Marshall.
Marshall is a lousy 0-4 ATS in their last four C-USA games, but they
are 6-2 ATS the last eight times theyve played a rare Wednesday
The under is starting to form a solid betting trend, going 6-2 in the
last eight meetings head-to-head. The under is also 15-7 in the
Herds last 22 C-USA games.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Marshall plays much better at home than on the road,
beating Ohio for their only win and nearly upsetting West Virginia
earlier this season. So this game will be a lot closer than it looks
on paper, but even a late touchdown by the Knights can give them a
backdoor cover. So Im taking Central Florida here minus the 6.5 points.