Saturday, November 7, 2020, Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, West Virginia, 2:30 p.m. ET
Minutemen at Thundering Herd Betting Preview: Minutemen (+44.5), Thundering Herd (-44.5)
Massachusetts Minutemen Betting Preview
UMass canceled its season in mid-August because of coronavirus concerns only to announce a month later that it would play a three games this fall.
The first didn’t go well as the Minutemen (0-1) were blanked 41-0 at Georgia Southern. The Minutemen passed for only 80 yards (41 by Mike Fallon, 39 by Josiah Johnson) and rushed for 111 with Will Koch’s 40 yards on four carries leading the way.
“Even though we’ve only had 16 or 17 practices and haven’t been able to kind of have a full camp, I honestly, in my heart, felt we would run the football better,” UMass coach Walt Bell said.
When the Minutemen returned from Georgia, the state of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 protocols mandated a two-week quarantine.
“We basically had that quarantine, had to suspend football activities for a week, per our campus,” Bell said. “We were able to get back out there in earnest a little bit [last] Saturday, but really in earnest on Sunday. It’s been good.
“The kids were kind of itching to get out of their rooms a little bit, which I can understand. I don’t know how well I would have handled doing that as an 18- to 22-year-old.”
Marshall Thundering Herd Betting Preview
The No. 16 Thundering Herd (5-0) have had to contend with coronavirus-induced holes in their schedule and now have to prepare for an opponent that has played only one game at this late date in the schedule.
Herd coach Doc Holliday said he has had to resort to studying the tendencies of the Minutemen staff when they were at other spots, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
“When you get into a situation like this, you have to worry about yourself,” he said. “Us as a football team, we have a standard that we have to play up to, and we’ve got to get better as a team.”
Marshall’s defense has 17 sacks this season, led by five from Darius Hodge. Abraham Beauplan has two forced fumbles, and fellow linebacker Tavante Beckett has three fumble recoveries, including one for a score.
The Herd’s offense is averaging 33.8 points and 427.4 yards per game, enough to apply pressure on that side of the ball as well.
“When you are playing the kind of defense we’re playing, you want to get down in that red zone and you want to walk away with points,” Holliday said.
Offensively, freshman quarterback Grant Wells has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,110 yards and eight touchdowns this season, although he has thrown four interceptions.
Junior Brenden Knox has 556 yards rushing, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, with seven touchdowns.
Minutemen at Thundering Herd Betting Pick for November 7, 2020
The Herd has won their only meeting with UMass, but that was 19 years ago by a 49-20 score in Huntington. The Minutemen will be playing only the second of their three-game schedule, having lost to Georgia Southern 41-0 back on Oct. 3.
Minutemen at Thundering Herd Betting Pick:
Thundering Herd 42, Minutemen 7
Minutemen at Thundering Herd Best Bet for November 7, 2020
UMass managed only 191 yards in total offense in their opening loss to Georgia Southern and will be up against a Marshall club that has held opponents to an average of 265 yards a game. The Herd has scored at a 33.8 clip and held opponents to under 10 points a game (9.4) during its winning streak.
Minutemen at Thundering Herd Best Bet: UNDER 58.5