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Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Ohio vs. Marshall

12/26/09

Head Coach Frank Solich has done a great job of turning this Ohio Football program around, and although he was unable to lead his Bobcats to a MAC Title he is one game away from their first 10 win season since 1968, and their first win in a bowl game in the schoolís history.

Ohio is 9-4 on the season, with wins over Bowling Green, Temple, and Northern Illinois, but their losses might be whats most impressive from their year. They lost 23-16 to Connecticut and 34-23 to Tennessee both of whom are bowl teams this year. Solich definitely has this mid-major program headed in the right direction, and a bowl win to cap off a 10 win season is just what they need to keep it going into the 2010 season, but first they have to get past the Thundering Herd.

Marshall squeaked by to get their 6th win over SMU 34-31 to become bowl eligible, so for this team just getting to a bowl game makes this a successful year after their Head Coach Mark Snyder resigned after losing 3 out of their last 4 games and with a record of 21-37 in 5 years as Head Coach. This is their first bowl game since 2004 when they lost in the Fort Worth Bowl to the Cincinnati Bearcats, and if this program is going to get things turned back around a bowl win would be a great way to start.


PRIMETIME MATCHUP

In this matchup we have two teams who donít really excel in any one area, but they are solid in most areas which makes it very difficult to pick out one matchup that will affect the game the most. Marshall runs a very balanced attack with RB Darius Marshall and QB Brian Anderson. Marshall has rushed for over 1,000 yards this season with 11 TDís and Anderson has thrown for over 2500 yards and 14 TDís this year. The one are where we believe Ohio can expose Marshall is by stopping the run, and forcing Anderson to beat them with his arm because he has 13 INTís to go along with those 14 TDís. Ohio is ranked 6th in the MAC in rush defense allowing 150 yards per game, so they will need to play one of their better defensive games to stop Marshallís rushing attack, but if they are able to do so they should be able to put Anderson into some bad situations.



THE FINAL VERDICT


This is one of the tougher games to figure out, because neither team has real areas where they excel in where you can pinpoint a single reason why they should have the better chance, but when you take all things into consideration it leans towards the Ohio Bobcats. Ohio is looking for their first bowl win in school history and their first 10 win season since 1968. They have a very good coach in Frank Solich who will have his team 100% ready to play, and they are playing a Marshall team that limped into this bowl game winning just one of their last four games.

Throw in the fact that their defensive coordinator will have to take over the reigns as the Head Coach, and that is a lot of reasons why The Thundering Herd will not be ready to play this Saturday. We expect Ohio to at least be able to slow down RB Darius Marshall enough to put QB Brian Anderson into some bad situations, and he has shown when teams do that he is vulnerable to turn the ball over, and this Ohio defense is ranked 1st in the MAC with a +14 turnover margin. They are very capable of forcing turnovers, and that should be enough to get the win over a struggling Marshall team. Ohio -3
 

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