Georgia State at Marshall
Date/time: Saturday, Nov. 26, 12:00 p.m. EST
Location: Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, West Virginia
Records: GSU 4-7 (3-4) APP 7-4 (4-3)
DraftKings Line: MRSH -6.0 as of 11/24/22*
Previous meetings: This is the first time GSU and Marshall have ever played
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Correction: This story initally claimed Darren Grainger will not play football next season. Grainger has one year of eligibility left in his college career and is expected to play in 2023.
Both of these teams’ regular seasons are finished: Marshall is going bowling while Georgia State is just happy to finish their regressed-to-the-mean campaign.
Additionally the Thundering Herd has its infrastructure for at least the next couple seasons, whereas the Panthers are seeing some of their most important players graduate.
Regardless of the disparity of where either program is, fans of the run game should be treated to quite a display on the ground.
A Quick Look at GSU
2022 will be remembered as the season that should’ve been for GSU; in six of its seven losses to date they at one point held a lead. Numerous program record-breakers reside among the Panthers’ ranks including RB Tucker Gregg, WR Jamari Thrash and DBs Quavian White and Antavious Lane and yet none of that matters if you can’t get results.
And to think this team made Ball State look like an FCS team last bowl season.
QB Darren Grainger has a solid ceiling as a passer and an even higher one as a rusher, but is a non-factor when GSU isn’t running the ball well.
Luckily for the Panthers their offensive line was quite dinged up in last week’s collapse against James Madison but is expected to be fully healthy for Saturday.
Keep eyes peeled for RB KZ Adams; Gregg graduates, leaving a vacancy in the backfield. Adams set the South Carolina high school season rushing record last year; he surpassed 3,000 ground yard and scored 42 times.
A Quick Look at Marshall
Even with a bowl game locked up, Marshall knows that an 8-4 season is far more attractive than 4-4 in-conference.
The offense favors the run with RB Khalan Laborn, the conference’s leading rusher by a margin of almost 400 yards, and last week saw the return of last season’s 1400-yard rusher Rasheen Ali. They are a senior and sophomore respectively, so there is no replacement search that this game could be used on.
The same can be said for quarterback, held down by freshman Cam Fancher. Fancher won the job over transfer Henry Colombi, but not fully until week seven after a 3-3 start.
Thanks to a host of strong box defenders including DE Owen Porter the Thundering Herd boast the third-best rush defense and have allowed the single-fewest ground scores in the conference this season, making GSU a tasty matchup.
If you like the ground game, this will be a matchup to watch. GSU is first and Marshall is second in total rushing yards this season in the SBC and either side has at least two guys capable of rushing for 100+. This could very well be a combined 450+ rushing yard day; if GSU can crack through the intimidating Marshall front.
As seen throughout the season, when the Panthers can’t set the pace of the game on the ground they start to falter offensively. They can’t rely on Grainger for a heroic performance unless he himself is doing it on the ground, either.
If GSU can effectively rush, this could be a slow but beautiful slugfest. If not, and pending results elsewhere, Marshall will not have issue finishing their first season in the Sun Belt East in second place.