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Military Bowl

Pick

Marshall

vs.

Maryland

12/27/13

Here's a game not many are talking about, because well, it's Maryland and Marshall. The Terrapins finished just 3-5 in conference play, yet because of an easy non-conference schedule, made it to seven wins. The Thundering Herd have a better record with nine wins, but only because they play in the C-USA. The Herd are slight -2.5 point favorites in the Military Bowl at betonline.

Marshall has a top 10 offense scoring more than 40 points per game and leading the entire nation with 365 passing yards per game, but its defense has failed them. Giving up 51 points to Middle Tennessee and 41 points to Rice most recently in the C-USA title game, it's been a struggle for most of the year. Their offense may not be as good as perceived either as a lot of the numbers are from thrashing on the weaker teams. Scoring 31 points at Ohio and 21 at Virginia Tech, won't win games with their defense.

This is the first bowl game for Maryland head coach Randy Edsall in his third year at the helm. Their best non-conference wins came against Connecticut and West Virginia. At 4-0 everyone thought they would give problems to Florida State, but ended up losing 63-0. Their most impressive result came in a 27-24 OT win at Virginia Tech and considering how bad the Hokies offense was late in the season, that isn't all that great.

The Terps struggled on both sides of the ball for much of the season against mediocre to high-end teams. They'll likely have to put points on the board against Marshall to have a chance here.

Stopping Marshall's offense is a problem most teams have. As a junior, quarterback Rakeem Cato is a complete stud with 36 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The interesting part is that his completion percentage dropped 10 points to 59 percent this year from last, yet his QBR is slightly higher than in 2012. He may not be ultra-accurate, but Cato is definitely someone difficult to game plan for. Tommy Shuler (97 receptions) is his go-to slot receiver, and Gator Hoskins (13 TDs) is the deep threat/red-zone target. In addition, the Herd have a solid running game led by Essray Taliaferro with 1,059 yards and nine TDs.

The Terps will need to score in this one, and as of late haven't looked as bad, averaging more than 30 points in their last three games. Putting 27 points on Va. Tech isn't easy, then they got 26 on Boston College and 41 at NC State.

Quarterback C.J. Brown is at his best when he uses his legs as he's second on the team with 538 yards and leads with 12 rushing TDs. Brown isn't the greatest passer with 11 TDs and six INTs, hence why he runs so much. In his past three games, Brown has rushed for 282 yards and six TDs. On the other end of that, running back Brandon Moss hasn't done much lately, rushing for a dismal 75 yards on 29 carries over the last two games. It's going to be on Brown to win this game, and that will most likely come from the ground.

Marshall was a dominant home team with a 6-0 ATS mark this season, so that will be something to look at. Maryland was mediocre going 7-5 ATS for the season.

The Thundering Herd are 5-1 ATS in their last six non-conference games and 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Terrapins have covered in five straight non-conferences games and are 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral site games.

Military Bowl  - Marshal vs. Maryland $20

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