Marshall vs Georgia Southern Odds, Picks: Expect Herd to Roll
G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: E.J. Jackson
Marshall vs Georgia Southern Odds
-110o / -110u
|Georgia Southern Odds|
-110o / -110u
Sun Belt intrigue continues with a matchup of colliding strengths and weaknesses. Marshall brings its truly excellent defense, one of the best in the Group of Five, to take on the revitalized Georgia Southern passing attack.
And on the other side of the ball, Marshall’s stoppable force of an offense will square off against the movable object of Georgia Southern’s defense.
Marshall is on a two-game winning streak, finding some consistency after an up-and-down September. The Eagles are looking to rebound after a pair of tough losses, and can clinch bowl eligibility with one more win.
Should you back the sturdy Marshall defense in this clash of styles? Or do you trust the home team and the better passing offense? Let's take a look at the matchup.
The Thundering Herd have had one of the most fascinating runs in FBS football this season. You remember, of course, their monumental win in South Bend, defeating Notre Dame in Week 2 in front of Touchdown Jesus. You might also remember they opened their first season in the Sun Belt with a pair of conference losses as their offense cratered.
Maybe you missed how they rebuilt their season with a true freshman at quarterback, a workhorse running back and a truly outstanding defense.
The Herd have won three out of four games — only falling to division champs Coastal Carolina — since moving on from veteran quarterback Henry Colombi and handing over the reins full-time to freshman Cam Fancher.
Fancher is not going to make anyone forget Peyton Manning — he helms a pass attack that is 113th in Success Rate and 130th in explosives — but he added an extra dimension to this stale offense with his mobility and scrambling. Fancher is second on the team with 408 rushing yards (before removing sack yards), and his running has been a key factor in extending drives.
He is only second on the team in rushing because of superstar running back Khalan Laborn, who is sixth in FBS with 1,253 rushing yards. He is in line for a big day against a Georgia Southern defense that ranks 130th in EPA/rush.
But the story of the 2022 Marshall team is on the other side of the ball. This is a truly outstanding defense, ranking 10th in SP+. Edge rusher Owen Porter is a star, leading the team in sacks and paving the way for a defense that is one of the best in the country in creating Havoc.
The critical players in this matchup will be star cornerbacks Steven Gilmore and Micah Abraham. Georgia Southern’s potent passing attack features a quartet of efficient receivers, and the Herd will need their NFL bloodline corners — Steven is Stephon’s brother and Micah is Donnie’s son — to limit the Southern weapons on the outside.
You know the Air Raid and passing offenses have taken over when even the Georgia Southern Eagles are going four-wide now. One of the sport’s triple-option mainstays has taken to the skies in the Clay Helton era — and might even find itself bowl eligible in his first year in Statesboro.
Georgia Southern has been reborn as a passing team, and quarterback Kyle Vantrease has reset the school’s record books to prove it. The Ginger General has been stellar in Year 1 of this new offense, racking up 3,307 yards and 21 touchdowns, while leading FBS’s 29th-best offense in EPA.
While Vantrease can compile big numbers through the air, the efforts haven’t always turned into wins. The defense is bad, and the Eagles have lost a number of shootouts.
Last week, the Eagles' passing attack was held in check by a Louisiana defense that ranks seventh in PFF coverage grade. Vantrease got his yards with 325, but the Eagles' poor defense put them in a hole and Louisiana was able to keep them at bay, despite allowing yardage. Marshall’s defense is like an even better version of Louisiana’s and is also top-10 in PFF coverage grades.
Marshall is vulnerable to explosive pass plays, ranking 111th in passing explosives allowed but second in Success Rate. That’s a poor matchup for Georgia Southern, which attacks in the same way. The Eagles eschew big pass plays (114th in explosive passes) for efficiency (20th).
Georgia Southern’s defense is likewise a poor matchup for Marshall’s ground-oriented attack. The Eagles are average against the pass (75th in preventing explosives, 57th in Success Rate against) but miserable against the run.
Last week, Louisiana as a team rushed for 242 yards, and the week before that La’Damian Webb rushed for 247 by himself. The Eagles allowed big days to DeWayne McBride, Percy Agyei-Obese, Blake Watson, and two different ballcarriers on Georgia State. Khalan Laborn and Cam Fancher should feast on Saturday.
Marshall vs Georgia Southern Matchup Analysis
Marshall vs Georgia Southern Betting Pick
Georgia Southern is a good team — well, half of a good team.
You have to be impressed by what the Eagles have been able to do in the first year of a complete schematic overhaul. They have a fun passing attack, and their win over James Madison was incredible. They can make a bowl game, and it might come down to next week’s rivalry matchup with Appalachian State.
But they are a bad matchup for Marshall. The Herd’s excellent defense will feast on this dink-and-dunk attack, and their running game can control the ball against the Eagle’s forgiving front.
I expect Marshall to cover 4.5 and would play it up to 6.5
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