The FIU Golden Panthers (8-4) and Marshall Thundering Herd (6-6) will meet up Tuesday night in the Beef ‘O’Brady’s Bowl inside Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.
FIU Golden Panthers vs. Marshall Thundering Herd
FIU is going bowling for the second year in a row and has already won the most games in school history. “At 8-4, we don’t only have the best record in FIU history, we have the best record in the state of Florida,” commented Golden Panthers athletic director Pete Garcia. Dating back to the start of the 2010 campaign, the program is 8-2 in the months of November and December, which includes a victory over the Toledo Rockets in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. FIU is 5-6 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points the last two-plus seasons.
The Golden Panthers must get the ball in the hands of star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who holds basically every school receiving record, including 3,443 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns. FIU also has the ability of moving the ball on the ground, with sophomore Kedrick Rhodes finishing the regular season with 1,121 rushing yards, which is 13 shy of breaking the school’s single-season record. Getting ahead in this game is going to be important for both teams, especially with FIU outscoring opponents by a 92-43 margin in the first 15 minutes of games this season.
Marshall closed the season in winning three of four games and will put its 6-3 all-time record in bowl games on the line. The Thundering Herd will play in the postseason for the first time under the direction of second-year head coach Doc Holliday. “We’re not where we want to be. Our goal is always to win the Conference USA championship,” he stated this week in practice. “We’re getting closer, but we won’t be satisfied until we get to that game.” Marshall is 12-12 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus seasons.
The Thundering Herd are also a team that wants to jump out early, posting a 6-1 this season when scoring first and 0-5 when the opponent puts the first points on the board. Marshall will need to win this game on the defensive and and ranks tied for fifth nationally in tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Vinny Curry is an impact player and was named first-team All-Conference USA. Currently, the Herd ranks near the bottom of the FBS in pass defense, total offense and first downs gained.
Recommendation: FIU Golden Panthers -2.5 First Half
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