Dec. 20
8 p.m.
ESPN                 Florida International 10 vs Marshall 20  

Marshall wins. Special teams punt block is the difference and Marshall finishes 7-6. A key fumble by star T.Y. Hilton cost the Golden Panthers in their final chance. We will get to MVPs later.

FIU MVP: WR T.Y. Hilton- The senior caught 8 passes for 88 yards and rushed for a score for the Golden Panthers.

Marshall MVP: - QB Rakeem Cato- The freshman QB from Miami threw for 2 touchdowns and passed for 226 yards in the win.  

We picked FIU to win. We are now a dissapointing 2-2


Offense:  Marshall comes into the game averaging only 22 points a game. True freshman Rakeem Cato is at the helm. He is a true passer, not so much a runner. Marshall has changed its philosophy from that of a zone read to a regular passing attack, which has helped Cato later in the year. His performance will be key for Marshall against the Golden Panther defense. His top receiver is junior Aaron Dobson. The junior has caught 42 passes this year for 587 yards. The leading rusher is Tron Martinez, who has 591 yards, but only 3 touchdowns. Florida International has an offense that is centered on the athletic ability of T.Y. Hilton. For those who haven't seen him, he is a threat for a touchdown every single time he touches the ball. He has 64 receptions for 950 yards and 7 receiving touchdowns. He is also a huge threat on special teams. The Golden Panthers are quarterbacked by Wesley Carroll. The senior has passed for 2224 yards and thrown for 14 touchdowns. FIU is extremely balanced, ranking 69th in the country in passing, and 70th in rushing. Kedrick Rhodes leads that attack with 1121 yards and 8 touchdowns. Look for him to be a big factor in this one.

Defense: Marshall will need a strong performance from a unit that gave up over 30 points a game. It will need a performance like the one they had against Louisville, where they escaped with a 17-13 win. Here's an interesting fact. Louisville, last year's Beef o Brady Bowl champion, was a co-Big East champion this year. They lost to both of this year's Beef participants this year. Marshall beat Southern Miss also, which was a Beef participant last year. And I digress. Senior DE Vinny Curry was named Conference USA defensive player of the year and is an absolute monster. He will look to wreak havoc all night against FIU. The secondary has a high risk, high reward. They have 14 interceptions on the year, but also have given up many yards through the air. Florida International brings a defense that gives up only 19.4 points a game. LB Winston Fraser leads the team in tackles with 107 tackles. The secondary is led by Justin Halley, who has 4 interceptions on the year for FIU. It will be interesting to see if the Marshall offense can get anything going against this stingy FIU defense.

The pick: I like FIU to come out with its second consecutive bowl win. The offense is explosive and the defense is strong. But as we have seen in the previous game, anything can happen. If you agree or disagree let me know why by tweeting me @bowlseason or emailing me at . I'll post them if you send them.




Andrew Ramspacher, of The Herald-Dispatch answered some questions about Marshall.

BS: The Thundering Herd finished 6-6, with two big wins over Southern Miss and Louisville. How would you rate this season overall for Marshall ?

Andrew Ramspacher: It’s been an odd season to say the least. This is a team that’s 5-0 in games decided by seven points or less, but has lost six games by an average of 27.5 points. The Herd never had a two-game winning streak until it absolutely needed to (beat Memphis and ECU to become bowl-eligible after sitting on a 4-6 wall). But, in all honesty, I never expected six wins prior to the season’s start. The offense had too many questions, the defense had holes minus Vinny Curry and the schedule was brutal ( Marshall wasn’t favored until its seventh game).

To grade, I’d give the season a B. Huge victories over Southern Miss and Louisville combined with a thrilling, OT W over East Carolina to clinch a bowl berth were impressive feats.

BS: The offense really struggled, scoring only 22 points a game. In what ways have they struggled and who are the players that are key to their success?

Andrew Ramspacher: A lot of those struggles came via poor mixes of personnel and scheme. In Marshall ’s first six games, true freshman Rakeem Cato was the starting quarterback. He had ups (led those wins over Southern Miss and Louisville ) and downs (a four INT performance at Ohio , only 87 yards at UCF) and was eventually benched in place of A.J. Graham.


Cato isn’t a running QB and the Herd’s coaching staff was somewhat determined to force him into that role. When the running game suffered (most notably the poorly executed zone read play), Cato had to take some of that blame. Graham was more that running guy and proved it with a 129-yard rushing performance in his first start against Rice. For the next two games, the offense showed drastic improvement, highlighted by Graham’s five TD passes against UAB in a 59-14 rout.

However, Graham went down with a season-ending shoulder injury against Tulsa , bring Cato back to the fold. He sputtered at Memphis , but returned for a sparking effort (341 yards, two TDs) against East Carolina . It was a game where the coaches finally scrapped the zone read and purely made Cato a passer and he showed it.

Cato will be the key for this bowl game. His top target is junior receiver Aaron Dobson. You might have seen him on SportsCenter’s Top Plays recently for his ridiculous, circus, back-handed touchdown grab against ECU.

BS: The defense was mostly solid. What do they have to do to be successful in the bowl game and who are the key players?

Andrew Ramspacher : The defensive is led by Vinny Curry, Conference USA ’s Defensive Player of the Year, an All-American and a likely high draft pick. The senior defensive end’s made 23 sacks in two seasons, including 11 this year. And this is coming with constant double and triple teams being thrown his way.

To be successful in the bowl game, Curry will have to make his presence felt, pressuring FIU QB Wes Carroll to the point that it disrupts timing with star receiver T.Y. Hilton. The nation’s better receivers ( West Virginia ’s Stedman Bailey, Houston’s Patrick Edwards and Tyron Carrier) have had success against MU’s secondary. Hilton is definitely in that category.

He’ll face a group of Marshall corners and safeties that take things away (14 INTs) but also gives things up (262.8 passing yards per game). The unit is led by senior free safety Omar Brown, an All-C-USA first-team selection. He leads the team in tackles (107) and has four picks.

BS: If you could choose one player to have a breakout performance in the bowl game, who would it be?

Andrew Ramspacher: Freshman running back Travon Van. A lot of attention will be on Cato because he has deep FIU connections (once committed there, played with Hilton in high school), but Van is the spark he’ll need for support.

The electric 5-foot-10, 200-pounder is a former University of Florida recruit who, since returning to good health, has lived up to his reputation. In the last three games, Van’s accounted for 326 yards and three scores on 39 touches.


Thanks a lot to Andrew Ramspacher. Check his work out at and and follow @ARamspacher

This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola