Middle Tennessee vs. Marshall prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Blue Raiders and Thundering Herd on Saturday in Huntington, WV.
Middle Tennessee vs. Marshall Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 12 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV
TV Broadcast: N/A
The Blue Raiders (6-3, 3-2 Conference USA) suffered a disastrous injury last week in their 45-25 home loss to UTSA, as star sophomore quarterback Brent Stockstill was lost for the remainder of the regular season after breaking his right collarbone (non-throwing arm) early in the second quarter. Redshirt freshman John Urzua, who replaced the injured Stockstill, will start for the remainder of the season. Head coach Rick Stockstill, Brent’s father, said his son could possibly come back for the team’s bowl game, but he will serve as a de facto coach in the meantime.
Meanwhile, the Thundering Herd (2-7, 1-4) were overwhelmed on the road last week against Old Dominion, as quarterback David Washington threw for three touchdowns and Ray Lawry ran for 209 yards and a score in a 38-14 Monarchs win. Marshall signal-caller Chase Litton managed to throw for just 87 yards and a touchdown in the blowout loss.
When these two teams met last season in Tennessee, Stockstill threw for 353 yards with three touchdown passes to lead the Blue Raiders to a 27-24 triple-overtime upset victory. Marshall was 1 of 6 on field goals in the contest. Meanwhile, Litton was 34 of 56 through the air for 346 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
What To Know About Middle Tennessee
Stockstill will need his team to now rally around Urzua, who will be making his first college start on Saturday. The positive news is that this offense is quarterback-friendly, so Urzua needs to have a strong week of practice and execute the pass-happy game plan out of the spread. He was able to get his feet wet last week, but he struggled with his accuracy and threw three picks. The bottom line is that very few backups would be able to step in and produce like Stockstill, who had 2,801 passing yards with 27 touchdowns and just five interceptions this year. He was also the team’s second-leading rusher with 42 carries and 232 yards. But the Blue Raiders will at least be able to move the football fairly well if Urzua remains turnover-free, because the coaching staff will put him in position to succeed.
What to Know About Marshall
One week after the Thundering Herd dropped a 24-14 decision to Southern Mississippi, Doc Holliday’s squad managed just 214 total yards last week while allowing Old Dominion to rack up 461 total yards of offense. Litton and Co. have shown that they can be prolific on offense, but it has been too inconsistent and plagued by turnovers and other mistakes. Defensively, Holliday’s squad has been porous both against the pass and run, which makes taking care of the football an even bigger priority on offense because it will likely find itself in shootout scenarios.
Offense: Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders average 519.7 yards per game, but that was under Stockstill’s leadership. However, even with Urzua at the helm, this is an offense that will be able to take advantage of a porous Marshall secondary.
Defense: Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders are a very generous defense, but less so than Marshall.
Special Teams: Middle Tennessee. Marshall’s Amoreto Curraj is just 4 of 9 on field goals this season, while Middle Tennessee’s Canon Rooker is 14 of 17.
Coaching: Middle Tennessee. Holliday has been a great fit for Marshall, but the Herd are suffering through a down year. Meanwhile, Stockstill has a win over Missouri this year to his credit.
Intangibles: Even. The Blue Raiders lost the heart and soul of their offense, but the Herd are going through a rough year.
Matchup To Watch
Urzua vs. Marshall secondary
The pocket-passing Urzua has appeared in two games out of relief this season, and he committed four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble) last week against UTSA. Making him comfortable and confident early in this game is key. Look for a lot of short and intermediate passing routes before sprinkling in some plays that would allow Urzua to utilize his big arm. Letting the offensive system work by taking what the defense gives it is the main priority for the Blue Raiders.
Spread: Middle Tennessee -9.5
Middle Tennessee vs. Marshall Prediction
The Blue Raiders lost their offensive centerpiece when Stockstill went down, and it will unquestionably have a trickle down effect throughout the entire team. But Urzua will likely operate a more simplified game plan this week, and the Herd have too many issues to compete with the Blue Raiders even without their No. 1 quarterback. Middle Tennessee gets a win, and Urzua gets some invaluable experience.
Middle Tennessee vs. Marshall Prediction: Middle Tennessee 34, Marshall 23