Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs - 11/15/19 NCAA Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Marshall Thundering Herd
Friday, November 15, 2019 at 7:00 PM (Joan C. Edwards Stadium)
Marshall -3; Total 57.5
In what may very well be a preview of the Conference USA title game, the Marshall Thundering Herd (6-3, 4-1 C-USA) hosts the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-1, 5-0 C-USA) to Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, W.V. for a battle of the two hottest teams in the conference. The Bulldogs have won eight in a row since a season-opening loss to Texas, while Marshall has won four in a row.
Louisiana Tech has quietly put together one of the best seasons in all of FBS with one of the best offenses in FBS. The Bulldogs rank 13th in FBS averaging 38.1 points per game and that offense has been even better over the past seven games. After opening the season with a 45-14 loss to Texas and a 20-14 win over Grambling, the offense blew up and has averaged 44.1 points per game in the stretch, and it has been even better over the last four games, averaging 52.0 points per game in that run. In addition, the Bulldogs have won by an average of 23.1 points per game over the last seven games and nearly 30 points per game in the last four games.
Senior quarterback J’Mar Smith ranks 16th in FBS averaging 275.9 yards per game while junior Justin Henderson leads C-USA with 15 touchdowns scored (14 rushing) with 712 yards on the ground on 109 attempts. Louisiana Tech also has four other players who have rushed for more than 200 yards and six receivers with more than 200 yards receiving led by junior Adrian Hardy with 39 receptions and 482 yards. In all, 17 different players have scored touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
Marshall will counter that with a respectable defense, ranking 45th in scoring defense allowing 24.0 points per game. That is also good enough for fourth-best in Conference USA, just behind Louisiana Tech. But that Thundering Herd defense seems to have taken advantage of lesser opponents, allowing 17 to VMI, 24 to Middle Tennessee, and 7 to Rice, while allowing big points to stronger teams, such as allowing 52 to Cincinnati and 31 to Florida Atlantic. Neither the Bearcats nor the Owls have nearly the offensive prowess of Louisiana Tech.
The Thundering Herd ranks sixth in Conference USA in scoring offense with 26.2 points per game and is led by sophomore Brenden Knox, who leads C-USA with 933 yards rushing (5.7 yards per carry) on 164 attempts. He has also scored eight touchdowns. His 103.7 yards per game ranks No. 20 in FBS. Sophomore quarterback Isaiah Green has completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 1,876 yards and 12 touchdowns with six interceptions.
The game is at Marshall, where the Thundering Herd are 4-1 with their only loss coming in a 52-14 loss to Cincinnati. In the three home games since the 56-17 victory over VMI, Marshall is averaging winning those games by 6.3 points. In Louisiana Tech’s three road games since the season-opening loss to Texas, the Bulldogs are averaging winning by 17.3 points per game.
This one should be a great game, but it just seems like Louisiana Tech has way too many bodies to deal with for Marshall. The Thundering Herd has a great rushing attack, but the Bulldogs have shown the ability to slow down the run, ranking No. 40 in FBS rushing defense. Consider the money line, but the Bulldogs and a field goal should be a safe bet.