NCAA Football: East Carolina Pirates vs Marshall Thundering Herd Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/18/2021

by James Q

NCAA Football: East Carolina Pirates vs Marshall Thundering Herd Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/18/2021

Game Time: 6:00 pm ET, Saturday, September 18th, 2021 
Venue: John C Edwards Stadium, Huntington, West Virginia
Where to Watch: CBS Sports Network

Opening NCAAF Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Spread: Marshall -9.5:  O/U: 58.5
BetMGM:  Spread:  Marshall -10:  O/U:  58
Caesars:  Spread: Marshall -10:  O/U: 58

Season Record

E. Carolina: 0-2 (AAC) 
Marshall:  2-0 (C-USA)

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Marshall vs East Carolina Preview and Analysis

Marshall has opened the season with two big wins.  They beat Navy 49-7 and then North Carolina Central 44-10 (although they were favored by 43 points and didn’t cover).  These weren’t top flight teams, but Marshall is clearly good at taking advantage of anywhere they find a weakness.

East Carolina dropped their first two games.  The first was a 33-19 loss to Appalachian State (ASU covered the 9 point spread).  The second was a close 20-17 loss to South Carolina, they were 3 point dogs and they lost by 3.  

Offensive Analysis 
Marshall has been rolling on offense.  Big winners on the touchdown express.  Averaging 49.5 points per game on 583.5 yards per game. Quarterback Grant Wells has amassed 677 yards, 3 touchdowns, 3 interceptions with an RTG of 147.1.  RB Rasheen Ali leads a pack of runners that produce.  WR Corey Gammage and WR Talik Keaton are tied in the lead with 173 yards each, 6 more guys have more than 40 yards receiving in the two games.  TE Xavier Gaines has 5 catches for 73 yards.  Everyone gets the rock and everyone picks up yards.

ECU is ground to a halt. The Pirates are only managing 18 points per game on 324 yards per game.  They are only 20% effective on 3rd downs.  They are only averaging 3 yards per punt return.  This is a team that struggles to gain yards.  QB Holton Ahlers has thrown for 372 yards 2 TDs, 3 interceptions and he has been sacked 9 times.  The offensive line is giving up 4.5 sacks per game… 9 sacks in 2 games!  RBs Rahjai Harris and Keaton Mitchell are tied with 92 yards rushing over the two games.  WR Jsi Hatfield is the top receiver with 141 yards on the season.  ECU struggles.

Defensive Analysis

Marshall has been playing great defense.  They have given up 17 points total in two games. The competition hasn’t been anything to write home about but they handled everything. Marshall’s defense is 1st in college football by only allowing 3.5 yards per pass play.

The East Carolina defense needs a reboot. They need to find another gear, they need to play with passion and all the other cliched coach talk you can muster… they need to get stops.  They had the South Carolina Gamecocks in their grasp and they let them get away with 20 points.  The Pirates defense is 96th in yards given up.


Thundering Herd vs Pirates Prediction 

Our prediction for Saturday, September 18th is….  Marshall 38 -  ECU 17

Ignore the spread, it won’t be close.  ECU is wounded prey no matter what you think of the strength of schedule and conference Marshall plays in.


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NCAAF Betting Trends

Marshall is 1-1 ATS… but that was a huge spread
ECU is 0-2 ATS this season.
ECU is 0-2 as underdogs this season.

Key Injuries


Players to Watch

Marshall:  WR Knowledge McDaniel.  Knowledge doesn’t lead the team in rushing or receiving, but he does both and he does both well.  He is a big play guy.  Knowledge is due for a real big game against ECU’s defense.  

ECU:  QB Holton Ahlers.  Holton gets sacked.  It happens a lot.  If ECU has a chance in this game the coaching staff is going to have to devise a game plan that brings in more blockers or gets the ball out quicker.  Either way if Holton spends another afternoon glimpsing the sky from his back, we’ll know how this one will turn out.

Notable Quotes

“We used up our trick play in a loss?”  - ECU super fan.

Starting Lineups

Marshall:  QB Grant Wells, RB Ali Rasheen, WR Corey Gammage, WR Shadeed Ahmed, WR Talik Keaton, TE Xavier Gaines, 

ECU:  QB Holton Ahlers, RB Keaton Mitchell, WR Jsi Hatfield, WR C.J. Johnson, WR Tyler Snead, TE Shane Calhoun


Statistical Leaders 

Passing:  Holton Ahlers  186 YPG
Rushing: Rahjai Harris 46 YPG
Receiving: JSI Hatfield  70 YPG

Passing: Grant Wells  340 YPG
Rushing: Ali Rasheen 52 YPG
Receiving: Talik Keaton 86.5 YPG



Marshall:  Charles Huff - new coach off to a great start.
ECU: Mike Houston

Weather Forecast 

Partly Cloudy.  High of 85* 20% chance of precipitation.  Humidity 68%


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.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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