Location: L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, KY
Game Time: 6:30 PM CT
How To Watch: Stadium
Series History: Marshall leads the all-time series 5-4. In their last meeting, the Thundering Herd won the last meeting in 2017 30-23 despite Mike White leading a fourth quarter comeback. Marshall’s Tyler King ran for 102 yards and a touchdown in that game.
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers earned their first win of the year last week while paying Ball State a visit. Starting quarterback Davis Shanley didn’t play in the second half after going down with a shoulder injury. Steven Duncan filled in admirably though and led a comeback victory in the second half that included two touchdown tosses to Mik’Quan Deane. The victory was incredibly needed two weeks after a demoralizing win to Maine and one week after giving up a close loss to Louisville.
Coming into the season, Marshall were a dark horse to take C-USA East. That goal is still very attainable after a 2-1 start. The Thundering Herd started the year with back-to-back wins over Miami (OH) and Eastern Kentucky before their game against South Carolina was canceled due to Hurricane Florence. Last week, a tough first half performance put them in a hole they couldn’t overcome in a 37-20 loss to North Carolina State.
For the Herd, perhaps the biggest spark behind their solid start has been redshirt freshman quarterback Isaiah Green developing great connections with wide receiver Tyre Brady and running back Keion Davis. Green has thrown for six touchdowns and 820 yards through three games with Brady catching three of those. Davis caught six passes for 99 yards in the loss to NC State to bring him to 125 on the year, along with 112 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
In this early part of the season, the pressure has been on Mike Sanford’s team to get back to their offensive prowess of the Jeff Brohm years. The defense, however, has been one of the biggest selling points of this Topper team. They’ve tallied up eight sacks, keeping constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks. On the flip side though, there’s been plenty of pressure on WKU’s quarterbacks once again after a surrendering one of the highest sack totals in the nation last season. They’re already up to 11 this year, which is tied for fourth most in the league.
Ultimately, this game is going to come down to whether or not Western Kentucky’s offense can keep pace with Marshall’s offense. I don’t imagine this will be a low-scoring game, but WKU simply hasn’t found the end zone with the regularity that Marshall has. For that reason, I think...
Marshall wins 38-21.