Marshall Thundering Herd (4-3, 2-1 C-USA) vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (5-2, 4-0 C-USA)
Date & Time: Saturday, October 26, 2:30 PM ET
Streaming: Facebook Live
Location: Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV
Betting Line: Marshall -4.5 O/U 45
All-Time Series Record: Marshall leads 6-4
Previous Matchup: Marshall edged out the Tops last year in Bowling Green 20-17.
A rivalry game with important C-USA East implications. What more could you ask for?
Marshall have been a bit of a mixed bag so far this year, but when they’re on, they’re very on. A large part of that has been Brenden Knox and the rushing game. Knox leads the league in rushing yards with 719 on 118 carries and seven touchdowns. After week one, Marshall has won each of their games where Knox has gained 100 rushing yards.
His team needed him to step up with the dismissal of Tyler King earlier this season and inconsistent play from the rest of the offense and Knox has definitely done so.
Passing has been a pain point for the Herd on both sides of the ball. QB Isaiah Green is completing 57.9 percent of his passes for a total of 1377 yards so far with ten touchdowns and six interceptions. On defense, they’re allowing 248.4 yards through the air but have accumulated 25 sacks so far for the second highest total in the league in that category.
Linebacker Tavante Beckett is a name to watch on defense for the Herd. He has the second highest tackle total in the league with 65 as well as two sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass deflection.
Meanwhile, the Tops sit atop the division and are still undefeated in conference play. This has come largely as a result of a strong defense that has held opponents to the second fewest points (17.9 per game) and yards (287.3 per game) in the league.
Defensive end DeAngelo Malone is a contender for league Defensive Player of the Year leading the league in tackles for loss and sacks. He’s got 16 and nine in those categories respectively. This unit will face their toughest test of the season this week defending Marshall’s rushing attack, which has accumulated a league best 1518 yards on the ground.
A pain point for WKU as of late has been kicking field goals. Kicker Cory Munson is 10 of 16 on the year with at least one miss in each of the last three games. In his last outing against Charlotte, he was three of five with both misses coming from beyond forty yards.
Offensively, running back Gaej Walker continues to be WKU’s biggest offensive contributor. The converted defensive back is up to 628 rushing yards on the year with four touchdowns and four games over 100 yards rushing.
PREDICTION & FINAL SCORE
Plan on the WKU defense making a few critical stops. Marshall has struggled to a degree defending the pass, which is great news considering Ty Storey finally seems completely comfortable as the Tops’ QB1. Western Kentucky pulls off the upset 27-20.