The Military Bowl: Maryland Terrapins vs. Marshall Thundering Herd Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/27/13
Marshall Thundering Herd (9-4) at Maryland Terrapins (7-5)
College Football: Friday, December 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm (Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium)
The Line: Maryland Terrapins +2.5 -- Over/Under: 62 See the Latest Odds
Storyline: Maryland seeks its first postseason victory in three years, while Marshall finds itself one win away from its first 10-win season since 2002 when the two sides square off in the Military Bowl Friday.
The Breakdown: The Terrapins started strong in 2013, opening with four straight victories and outscoring opponents 159-41 before fortunes turned with a 63-0 rout at the hands of Florida State in week 6. The loss signaled the start of a back-loaded schedule and Maryland would drop four of its next six, highlighted by the Terrapins topping Va Tech in an OT thriller, before closing out the regular season with a 41-21 win at NC State.
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
Senior QB C.J. Brown shouldered the load for Maryland much of the season, passing for 2,045 yards and 11 touchdowns, while completing 58.9 percent of his passes, and rushing for 538 yards and another 12 touchdowns. Brown had three games in which he passed for over 200 yards and rushed for over 100, all coming in winning efforts. The Terrapins other leading skill players produced lackluster numbers on the season with sophomore RB Brandon Ross (660 YDs, 4 TDs) breaking the century mark just once and sophomore WR Stefon Diggs (540 YDs, 3 TDs) catching just 34 balls. On the defensive side, senior LB Marcus Whitfield (50 tackles, 9 sacks) is a next-level prospect with sideline to sideline ability.
Meanwhile, Marshall broke its season open after a 2-2 start by winning 7 of 9, including a five-game winning streak in which the Thundering Herd blasted virtually everyone by double-digit margins, with the high point coming in a 59-28 upset win over East Carolina to top Conference USA’s East division. The season, however, ended on a downer the following week with a 41-24 loss to Rice in the Conference USA championship game.
Marshall comes in with one of the nation’s top offenses, ranking seventh in scoring at 43 points per contest, 21st in passing yards at 291.2, 22nd in rushing yards at 211.2 and 12th in total offense at 502.3 yards per outing. And Conference USA Player Of The Year Rakeem Cato drives the bus. The junior QB passed for 3,579 yards and 36 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, while completing 59.3 of his passes, and added another 6 TDs on the ground. The Thundering Herd also boast two 1,000 yard skill players in senior RB Essray Taliaferro (1,059 YDs, 9 TDs) and junior WR Tommy Shuler (97 REC, 1,097 YDs, 9 TDs).
Rick’s Pick: The line in this matchup is currently set at -2.5 for Marshall with a 62 point total and Maryland doesn’t appear to have the firepower to stop the aptly named Thundering Herd. The Terrapins rank a pretty good 48th nationally in scoring defense at 24.8 points allowed, but they’ve surrendered at least 29 points in all but one of their losses. It’s doubtful Maryland will be able to keep pace offensively either. Look for Marshall to cover.
Follow me on Twitter @SCPRick