Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Marshall Thundering Herd (7-5 SU, 8-4) vs. Colorado State Rams (7-5 SU, 4-8 ATS)
Date/Time: Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 4:30 P.M. ET
Where: Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
by Jerbeek, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Mar +5.5/CSU -5.5
Over/Under Total: 58.5
The Marshall Thundering Herd and the Colorado State Rams will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico to play in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Marshall finished 3rd in the 3rd in the Conference USA East Division. Colorado State finished 2nd in the Mountain West Mountain Division. Marshall is led by 8th year head coach John Holliday and will be returning to a bowl game after missing out in 2016 following a 3-9 season. Colorado State, under 3rd year head coach Mike Bobo will be making their 5th consecutive bowl trip. They look to get back to their winning ways as they have lost in their last 3 bowl appearances. Marshall started the season strong with a 6-1 record but has lost 5 of their last 6 games Colorado State had a nice mid-season 4 game winning streak to get to 6-2 but then lost 3 straight before winning their finale against San Jose State. The Rams have lost 6 straight games against the spread to end the season so they are not quite playing up to expectations.
Marshall head coach John Holliday was feeling the heat after last years struggles. The program had previously had 3 straight double digit win seasons before the collapse last year. Marshall is known for explosive offenses; however, this year the Marshall has been winning when their defense plays well. The offense is scoring 26.3 points against teams that give up 27.0 points. The main struggle has been rushing where they are only averaging 3.8 yards per carry against teams that give up 4.3 yards. The Thundering Herd have a 3rd year QB in Chase Litton who is completing 60.6% of his passes but has thrown 12 interceptions compared to 23 touchdowns. Leading WR Tyre Brady missed the last 2 games of the season but is expected to be back for the bowl game. Brady had 777 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns before being injured.
Colorado State is known for a good rushing attack and the 2017 version is no different. The Rams are averaging 211 yards per game with an average of 5.2 yards per rush against teams that give up 4.8 yards. RB Dalyn Dawkins leads the rushing attack with 1,349 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns. Dawkins has went over 100 yards rushing in 7 of the last 8 games. Senior QB Nick Stevens is in his 3rd year as a starter and has thrown for 3,479 yards with 27 touchdowns. The Rams are averaging 33.8 points per game against teams that average 30.1 points.
As noted, when Marshall wins it is usually because of the defense. In their 7 wins the defense has held opponents to 12.2 point per game. In the 5 games they lost they are giving up an average of 29 points per game. The games that they lost were primarily due to the fact that they could not stop the opponents rushing game. This will be a huge problem as Colorado State will try to exploit this. The stats are a bit misleading because overall the Marshall defense has stopped the running game but in those 5 losses they have given up almost 180 yards on the ground. In the games they win they have given up under 75 yards rushing. Overall they have allowed only 5.0 yards to teams that average 5.5 yards per play.
On Defense, Colorado State has struggled stopping the rushing game as they have allowed 5.0 yards per rush against teams that only average 4.3 yards per play. Overall they have allowed 6.2 yards per play against teams that average 5.4 yards. The defense seemed to deteriorate late in the year as they gave up 641 yards to Boise State. The rushing totals the last 5 games are staggering as they gave up these amounts rushing, 318 to New Mexico, 413 to Air Force, 156 to Wyoming, 310 to Boise and 131 to San Jose State.
Jerbeeks Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is going to be a game between 2 defenses that are not very good at stopping the run game. I think this is going to provide many scoring opportunities and look for this to be a high scoring game. I am going to predict a Colorado State win of 35-31. My recommendation is to play over the total of 58.5 points. Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 50% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.