Marshall’s hopes of a perfect season are gone after a loss to Western Kentucky last weekend. Now, they have to forget about that and play against a potent Louisiana Tech squad. The Thundering Herd are still large -12.5 home favorites for the C-USA Championship Game.
The Herd were undefeated, but they began to be overrated in Conference play towards the end of the season. They failed to cover in three of their final five Games, including in their last two. The defense completely fell apart against WKU in a 67-66 overtime loss. It was the first time all season that Marshall allowed more than 27 points. That same WKU team lost earlier this season 59-10 at LA. Tech.
As for Louisiana Tech, they are also a high-scoring bunch with close to 40 points per Game. They beat Rice last weekend 76-31 if that says anything. The over/under for this Game is reaching 70 points which is about right in line for a 40-30 type of Game.
Due to recent Conference re-alignments this is actually the first ever meeting between these schools.
Both teams are great on offense, but Marshall has been the better overall team, hence their record. Granted, Marshall didn’t have to travel to Oklahoma and Auburn earlier in the season like LA. Tech did.
Quarterback Rakeem Cato is leading the team in his Fourth straight season and he’s been everything the Herd could’ve wanted. While he isn’t a great NFL prospect, Cato gets the job done on a college level. He’s only completing 59% of his passes on the year (the lowest rate of his career), but he’s at a career-best 9.01 yards per attempt to go with 35 TDs and 12 INTs. His mobility also helps out in tough situations. And the passing Game isn’t even the best thing about this offense.
Marshall is one of the best rushing teams in the nation, but an issue for this Game is that leading rusher Devon Johnson (1,602 yards, 16 TDs, 8.6 YPC) is questionable to play after only getting three carries last week. Steward Butler filled in just fine for him with 233 yards and two TDs against WKU.
The Louisiana Tech defense is an interesting unit because they’ve been pretty successful this year for the most part, but aren’t considered great by any means. The Bulldogs held that WKU offense to only 10 points which is a pretty big feat. It’ll be interesting to see how they attack Cato and the rushing Game.
Marshall’s main issue is that they are coming off a Game in which they allowed 67 points and played to overtime. That’s something new those guys haven’t experienced this year.
The Bulldogs are led by Cody Sokol at quarterback and his numbers are fairly similar to Cato’s with 29 TDs and 12 INTs. He isn’t a threat to run the ball though, which gives Cato a clear edge in that matchup. And in the running Game, while LT is solid, they don’t rush the ball as well as Marshall. Kenneth Dixon has 1,080 yards and 18 TDs for the year at tailback.
There’s no question Louisiana Tech can stay in this Game. Marshall is a great squad, but they were exposed a bit last weekend and even struggled at UAB in the Game before. Then again, the Herd also got the nerves of having to worry about losing a Game off their back. At this point, Marshall doesn’t have to worry about no longer being undefeated anymore.
The Bulldogs have covered in Four straight vs. a team with a winning record and are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 road Games. The Thundering Herd are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 home Games and 8-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Granted, LA Tech’s Schedule when compared to the top teams in the nation is weak, however, when using yards per point numbers to rank the offense, LA Tech is #1 in the nation with a blistering 10.7. What does that mean? It means this squad can Scorewith the best of them and it makes them a very dangerous underdog getting 12 points. LA Tech +12