Saturday, November 14, 2020, Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, West Virginia, noon p.m. ET
Blue Raiders at Thundering Herd Betting Preview: Blue Raiders (+23.5), Thundering Herd (-23.5)
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Betting Preview
The Blue Raiders (2-5, 2-3) have been idle since Oct. 24, when they survived Rice 40-34 in double overtime.
That game was most notable for Rice’s decision to play for a 44-yard field goal attempt in the first overtime — and the kick bounced off both uprights and the crossbar (twice) before landing in the end zone– a “quadruple doink” for a miss.
Quarterback Asher O’Hara made the Blue Raiders’ flight home from Houston a happy one, winning the game with a 14-yard touchdown run.
O’Hara has been the star of the Middle Tennessee offense this year, throwing for 1,509 yards and 11 scores while rushing for a team-high 476 yards and six touchdowns. He has been responsible for 17 of the Blue Raiders’ 23 touchdowns.
Middle Tennessee’s game scheduled for last week against Charlotte was postponed because of COVID-19 cases and contact tracing in the 49ers’ program. The teams are aiming to reschedule the game in December.
Blue Raiders coach Rick Stockstill calls the recent circumstances surrounding his team unique.
“We’ve had a good couple of weeks,” he said. “It’s not an advantage, because we didn’t spend any extra time working on Marshall … but it is what it is. You can’t control it.”
Marshall Thundering Herd Betting Preview
It will be an emotional day for the 16th-ranked Thundering Herd (7-0, 3-0 Conference USA) as they play on the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that killed 75 people involved in the program, including nearly the entire roster and coaching staff.
The Thundering Herd are coming off a 51-10 rout last week against overmatched Massachusetts.
Minutes after that game ended, Marshall coach Doc Holliday gave his players a quick history lesson on the importance of playing on November. 14.
“This is the most important game we play all year,” he said. “It’s not even close. They understand that next Saturday, it’s a game you better prepare harder than you’ve ever prepared. This game means more to our community, fan base and school than any game you’ll play all year.
“When you put that ’75’ on your helmet and put on that black jersey and black pants, you better be ready to go play.”
The Herd have been on point all year, relying on an experienced offensive line and a stout defense to cruise through most of their games. All their wins have been by double figures, although the only one that really moved the needle nationally was a 17-7 mid-September win over then-No. 23 Appalachian State.
The Minutemen got the entire Marshall offense thrown at them last week. Brenden Knox ran for 118 yards, the fifth straight game he has gone over 100. Freshman quarterback Grant Wells hit on 21 of 30 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns.
And the Marshall defense steadied after a rough first quarter, ceding just 190 yards and 12 first downs for the day.
Blue Raiders at Thundering Herd Betting Pick for November 14, 2020
The Blue Raiders have won the last two meetings (24-23 last year and 34-24 in 2018) but still trail 5-4 in the series. Knox rushed for 99 yards on 19 carries for the Herd against the Raiders last year, and quarterback Isaiah Green, who has since transferred, passed for 365 yard, but had three interceptions for the Herd.
Blue Raiders at Thundering Herd Betting Pick:
Thundering Herd 42, Blue Raiders 17
Blue Raiders at Thundering Herd Best Bet for November 14, 2020
The Thundering Herd are scoring at 36.7 clip while holding opponents to just 9.5 points a game. The most points they have given up came in a 35-17 win over Louisiana Tech.
The Blue Raiders have averaged 24.5 points a game and are coming off a season high in the 40-34 win at Rice on October 24.
Blue Raiders at Thundering Herd Best Bet: OVER 56.5