Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Date and Time: Friday, October 20, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN
Opening College Football Odds: Marshall -2.5
Marshall vs. Middle Tennessee TV Coverage: ESPN2
Marshall might have beaten Old Dominion 35-3 on Saturday at homecoming, but the highlight of the game for our money was a punt by Kaare Vedvik that covered 92 yards. It was the seventh-longest punt in college football history. Vedvik does the placekicking as well for the Herd, and he's truly evolving into a weapon on special teams.
Marshall isn't going to overwhelm you with anything that it does on the offensive side of the ball, but on this four-game winning streak, it has allowed teams to score a total of just three touchdowns, all of which came against Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium.
Granted, the other three wins against Kent State (21-0), Charlotte (14-3) and Old Dominion (35-3) weren't exactly juggernaut victories. Yet the fact remains that this team is tied for first place in the East Division of Conference USA, and outside of this game and perhaps its game at Florida Atlantic in a couple weeks, it will be favored in its games the rest of the way.
When Brent Stockstill broke his collarbone a few weeks ago, it really signaled the end of the Blue Raiders' hopes of winning Conference USA. John Uruza hasn't been terrible as his replacement, but the fact of the matter is that he's been picked off eight times against six touchdowns, and that just flat out isn't good enough.
The Blue Raiders are still throwing the ball all over the yard with Uruza, but there are too many instances when this offense just seems stuck in neutral. For a unit that is as high-powered as the MTSU offense has the potential to be, this team shouldn't rank No. 85 in the land in total offense and No. 115 in scoring.
There's a reason why Middle Tennessee has yet to play an over contest this year with just one push against the total versus FIU.
If the Thundering Herd are going to keep their winning streak going, they're going to have to get the ball in the hands of Tyre Brady as much as possible.
Brady is a senior receiver and is the calming influence at times on this offense. When Chase Litton needs to make a big play, it's Brady who is his go-to man.
Brady has four touchdown receptions in his last two games, and he's averaging 16.8 yards per catch this season. Granted, a lot of that is skewed based off of his 248-yard game against N.C. State earlier this year, but that was the toughest game of the season for the Thundering Herd, and we saw how many times Litton looked his way.
Marshall vs. Middle Tennessee Free Picks
The Marshall defense is a sham in our eyes. This team has gotten fat off of a bad schedule, and we think its moment of reckoning is set to happen against an MTSU team that feels like it's overrated.
All of the best NCAA football sportsbooks know what's up in this one, and that's why the Blue Raiders are only short dogs in this game at +2.5. If they can figure out how to stay out of their own way on offense and keep the ball moving more drives than not, they'll win this game at home and keep their faint hopes of winning Conference USA alive.
College Football ATS Pick: Middle Tennessee +2.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Middle Tennessee 38, Marshall 28