Marshall Thundering Herd vs Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders Picks, Spread and Trends to Watch - 10/02/2021

by James Q

Marshall Thundering Herd vs Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders Picks, Spread and Trends to Watch - 10/02/2021

Game Time: 7:00 pm ET, Saturday, September 2nd, 2021
Venue:  Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Where to Watch:  STAD


Opening NCAAF Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Spread: Marshall -10; Over/Under:  64 points
Circa:  Spread: Marshall -10; Over/Under:  64 points
Caesars:  Spread:  Marshall -10; Over/Under:  64 points

Season Record

Marshall:  2-2 (C-USA East)
Middle Tenn:  1-3  (C-USA East) 
Jeff Keim is off to a terrific 63.6% start to the college football season!  Get Jeff’s picks they’re available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.


Marshall vs Middle Tennessee Preview and Analysis

Recent Form
4 games into the season and Marshall has already been on a wild ride.  They opened with a blow-out win over the Navy Midshipmen 49-7.  Game 2 brought another blow-out victory over the North Carolina Central Eagles 44-10.  The Thundering Herd was showing up on top ten lists for offense and defense. They were high-fiving and chanting and doing all those things undefeated college teams do… then the grind started.  Game 3 was a slog of a day against the East Carolina Pirates.  Marshall lost 42-38… a 4 point loss?  How could it get any worse?  It got worse in game 4.  Marshall and the Appalachian State Mountaineers duked it out all game long to reach a 31-30 Marshall loss.  They lost their last two games by a combined 5 points.  They fell off the Defensive lists they had been on.  They are now fighting to stay above .500.
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders opened the season with a win against Monmouth.  A blow out win that finished 50-15.  They promptly lost their next three games:  Virginia Tech 35-14, UTSA 27-13, and a painful 42-39 loss to the Charlotte 49ers.  MTSU sits at 1-3, at the bottom of Conference USA, a 10 point underdog in their next matchup.  

Offensive Analysis

The record aside, Marshall has an offense that can score.  They are averaging 40.3 points per game on 552.8 yards per game.  Scoring is absolutely not a problem.  They are ranked 4th in the FBS for total offense.  They have scored 20 touchdowns in 4 games.  Marshall relies on QB Grant Wells to run an offense that passes most of the time, and turns to RB Rasheen Ali for the rest. Receivers Corey Gammage, Xavier Gaiines, Talik Keaton, Ahmed Shadeed, plus 11 others have combined for 1,526 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns.  RB Rasheen Ali has 376 yards and 8 touchdowns.

MTSU is ranked 100th in the FBS on offense… They are 96 spots behind Marshall.  MTSU has scored 14 touchdowns with an average of 348.8 yards per game.  Marshall nets 204 MORE yards per game.  The Quarterback stats at Middle Tennessee State has been split between QB Chase Cunningham and QB Bailey Hockman because Bailey Hockman suddenly left the team for personal reasons... Chase has filled in admirably, getting all the yards of total offense Bailey was getting without all the interceptions. The Running back spot is seldom used, lead rusher Amir Rasul has only 92 yards rushing over four games, the team has only 293 yards rushing in total.  This team is all about the pass.  MTSU has compiled 1,101 passing yards.  Wide receivers Jimmy Marshall, Jarrin Pierce, Jaylin Lane, DJ England-Chisolm, and Yusus Ali all get the rock with the help of a few more.  They are a pass-first, pass-second, run only out of desperation offense.

Defensive Analysis

Marshall is ranked 100th on defense in the FBS.  They have given up 12 TDs and an average of 422.8 yards per game.  It’s a far fall from 4th on offense.
MTSU is tied for 94th (or 95th if you are a glass half-empty type) on defense in the FBS.  They have given up 16 TDs and an average of 415 yards per game.  
Hawaii vs Oregon State Prediction
Our prediction for Saturday, October 2nd is….   Marshall 49 - MTSU 17
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NCAAF Betting Trends

As a favorite over the last 3 seasons Marshall is 7-13 ATS.
As a road favorite of 7.5 - 10 points since 1993 Marshall is 1-6 ATS.
MTSU is 7-3 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 - 10 points the last 3 seasons.
Off a loss against a conference rival MTSU is 7-2 ATS over the last 3 seasons.


Key Injuries

Marshall:  none reported
MTSU:  RB Chaton Mobley  (undisclosed) questionable.  QB Bailey Hockman (left the team)  Out 

Players to Watch

Marshall:  The entire offensive line.  They should hold against Middle Tennessee’s weak pass rush.  That will allow Grant Wells to pick the coverage apart.

MTSU:  Chase Cunningham.  With Bailey Hockman gone all the pass attempts will fall to Chase.  Can he handle entire games of passing all the time?

Notable Quotes

“The NCAA let’s anyone go against anyone no matter how overmatched some of these opponents are… What makes it a fair contest is the Point Spread… no honey that is the Over/Under… yeah the point total from the final score… c’mon we’ve been through this!”  -  Me. The ninth time my wife asked me to explain a point spread. 

Starting Lineups

Marshall:  QB Grant Wells, RB Rasheen Ali, TE Xavier Gaines, WR Corey Gammage, WR Shadeed Ahmed, WR Talik Keaton, LT Will Ulmer, LG Alex Salguero, C Alex Mollette, RG Logan Osburn, RT Kendrick Sartor

Middle Tenn:  QB Chase Cunningham, RB Amir Rasul, HB Will Gilchrist, WR Izaiah Gathings, WR DJ England-Chisolm, WR Jarrin Pierce, LT Steven Losoya, LG Dorian Hinton, C Jordan Palmer, RG Netori Johnson, RT Lance Robinson



Statistical Leaders

Passing:  Grant Wells 1,383 yards
Receiving: Correy Gammage  356 yards
Rushing:  Rasheen Ali  376 yards
Tackles:  Abraham Beauplan  40
Sacks:  Eli Neal  3

Passing: Chase Cunningham  638 yrards
Rushing: Amir Rasual  92 yards
Receiving: Jimmy Marshall 250 yards
Tackles: Reed Blankenship 39
Sacks: Jordan Ferguson 2

Marshall: Charles Huff
MTSU:  Rick Stockstill

Weather Forecast

Partly Cloudy.  High of 83*.  5 mph wind.

James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

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