Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Boise State Broncos Pick
Marshall Thundering Herd (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Boise State Broncos (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date and Time: Friday, September 6, 2019 at 9PM EDT
Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
Point Spread: MRSH +11/BSU -11 (BetNow)
Over/Under Total: 56.5
The Marshall Thundering Herd come into Albertsons Stadium to take on the 24th-ranked Boise State Broncos in week two action on Friday night. These teams haven’t played in 25 years, and both look to take it to 2-0 this week after each putting up over 600 yards in offense last week. Marshall wasn’t able to cover the jumbo spread in week one, but more or less took care of business against the Virginia Military Institute in a 56-17 win. Boise State was in a lot tougher, taking on Florida State on the road and coming from off the pace to register a big 36-31 win. Who can cover the spread in week two?
Where the Marshall Program Stands
For some who don’t follow Conference-USA, perhaps a brief primer is in order for the status of the program. Under Doc Holliday, who is now in his tenth season, the Thundering Herd have been in good shape the last few seasons after bottoming out with a 3-9 mark in 2016. Two straight Bowl-winning seasons and a 9-4 mark last season show them in good recent form. It’s hard to glean much from a win over VMI, but first signs were positive with a 56-point output. Sophomore quarterback Isaiah Green looks to step it up a notch after a positive freshman season where he started. He threw four TDs against VMI. Marshall has a stocked backfield with a lot of different weapons led by Tyler King and nice aerial manpower in Artie Henry, Corey Gammage, and others. The group needs to produce a star, and Green needs to do what most quarterbacks do in the second season in Holliday’s system, and that is, makes a big jump upwards. Maybe they can get a big play or two to make a run at this cover. Last week, Talik Keaton ran one back for a TD. They’d like to see more of that Friday.
Obviously, things ramp up considerably this week jumping from VMI to Boise State on the road. West Virginia to Idaho isn’t an easy trip. Last season, when the Conference USA squad tried to make a jump in class, they lost to Virginia Tech, 40-21. And it won’t be any easier this week against a Boise State team that is 26-1 in its last 27 home non-conference games. Their defense will be pressed to contain all the Broncos weapons. They return a lot of starters but will be tested hard in this spot. To what extent exactly will be key for the purposes of this spread.
Galvanizing Win for Boise
Boise fell behind FSU 21-6 early, and the writing appeared to be on the wall. The Seminoles were even ahead 31-13 at one time and couldn’t put away a plucky Broncos group. It was even more critical as it was a sterling debut for true freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier. Pounded early, Bachmeier was able to rebound, start connecting with his playmakers, and rally the team to a win. Running back Robert Mahone showed he could be another in a long line of productive Boise backs with 142 yards and two scores, while George Holani added 70 on the ground. Receivers CT Thomas, Khalil Shakir, and Akilian Butler also produced on the day. And they did it in clutch fashion, with the young QB showing toughness and poise in his first college start in a tough place to play.
Boise ran the ball 57 times, which gave the aerial game even more teeth. And when it mattered, guys like Mahone, Bachmeier, and the whole offense was able to deliver in crunch-time. Offensively, they will be a significant matchup issue against the Marshall “D.” Their QB appears to have heart and has a nice cast of weapons, including all five starters from last season’s offensive line. It’s hard to call out anything Boise did last Saturday, but early in the game, FSU was able to operate on offense with little resistance, as they had a 100-yard back, with their QB going for over 300 on the day. Still, in the end, they curtailed the FSU attack, including fast running back Cam Akers. But perhaps against a Boise State defense that is exploitable, Marshall can put up enough points to keep this from being out-of-hand.
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Tough Spot for Marshall
This is just a tough spot for the Herd. Last week’s Boise St. heroics will only resonate in a home-opener on the blue field that is at an even higher fever-pitch. Combine that with a tough road trip, and the picture starts to form for Marshall in a not-so-flattering way. The level of difficulty jumps up several notches this week for the Herd from last week’s test. But at the same time, Marshall is a pretty good football team with enough talent that you can’t sleep on them. And maybe with last week being the only real point-of-reference, people have gotten a touch carried away with the Boise week one win. A victory over FSU doesn’t mean what it did a few years ago, nor does one win magically put all of the Boise preseason question marks permanently in the positive column.
Take the Points
I think Marshall being more off the radar has helped their value. They’re actually a pretty together football team with a lot of good pieces in place. Boise was able to thrive in the role of underdog last week, coming from way behind to notch the win and cover. That doesn’t always translate so well on the other side of the coin—when you have to cover the big number as the favorite. The media darling of week one is unquestionably a good team, but I suspect a coming down to Earth this week, with Marshall being competitive enough to cover the number.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Marshall Thundering Herd plus 11 points.
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