The second week of the NCAAF regular season kicks off on Friday night with a handful of games. The most appealing matchup of the night is the home opener for a Top 25 squad
which scored one of the most impressive victories of Week 1.
The Boise State Broncos, fresh off of a road upset win over Florida State, will be at home to welcome the Marshall Thundering Herd. The visitors also opened up the year with a big victory, taking down visiting VMI by 39 points.
Marshall enters the new season off of a solid 2018 campaign which included a bowl victory as the icing on the cake. The team is expected to be a factor in how Conference USA plays out this season. The same applies for Boise State, a program which is coming off another solid season and among the favorites to win the Mountain West this year.
Friday night NCAAF provides us with the perfect opportunity to better focus our research efforts before the craziness that is the Saturday College Football schedule ensues. Let’s take a look at this contest in full detail, starting with the game lines.
Marshall vs. Boise State, 9 PM EST, Fri. Sept.6, ESPN2
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Marshall vs. Boise State Pick:
It wasn’t much of a contest for Marshall when VMI came to town last Saturday. The Thundering Herd roared out to a 21-0 lead and controlled the game throughout. The final tally was a 56-17 victory for the hosts. Isaiah Green tossed four TDs in the win, while the defense racked up four sacks, forced a turnover, and held the Keydets to 257 total yards.
Boise State had a much tougher time in its trip to Florida State. The Seminoles were up by a score of 21-6 after the first quarter, but the second half was all Broncos as they came back for a 36-31 win. Hank Bachmeier threw for 407 yards and a score, while Robert Mahone rushed for 142 yards and two TDs in the win. The Broncos defense forced three turnovers and got to the QB four times.
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The Thundering Herd opened up last year with two straight wins. After dropping two of their next three, the team got it together and won five of its next six games. Marshall would drop its finale to Virginia Tech by a score of 41-20 to close the year at 8-4. The program was invited to the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, where they would take down South Florida by a score of 38-20.
The Broncos had some difficulty early in 2018 as they started out with a mark of 3-2. Fortunes changed quickly as the team ripped off seven straight wins. The team played host to Fresno State to decide the Mountain West championship, losing a 19-16 heartbreaker in overtime. Boise State was scheduled to face Boston College in the ServPro First Responder Bowl, but the game was called dude to weather.
Marshall’s 28.2 points per game ranked 74th in the nation in 2018, while the average of 22.0 points was tied for 36th. Green returns for his second year at the helm behind an experienced offensive line. There’s attrition to deal with on defense, and the team has also welcomed a new defensive coordinator. This will be the 10th season leading the Thundering Herd for head coach Doc Holliday. He’s 71-46 to date.
Boise State’s offense was one of the tops in the country a season ago, checking in at 20th with an average of 35.4 points per game. The defense was in the same range as Marshall’s, ranking 35th with 22.1 points allowed per contest. Bryan Harsin is back for his 6th season as head coach of the Broncos. He’s 53-15 thus far.
The team will also have new voices leading the way on defense. The program lost two of its star offensive players to the NFL, but it looks like the coffers have been restocked just fine. The offensive line returns five starters, and there’s a good amount of returning talent on defense as well. Based on the Week 1 results, it doesn’t look like the Broncos will be missing a beat in 2019.
These two programs haven’t squared off since 1994 – a 28-24 victory for Boise State – so there’s nothing to see here on series history. Marshall is 0-1 against the spread to date and 1-0 on totals. Boise State is 1-0 on both metrics after last week’s upset win. They were 6.5-point underdogs at kickoff versus Florida State.
In 2018, the Thundering Herd was 5-8 ATS and 9-4 on totals. The Broncos were 7-5-1 ATS and 5-8 on totals. Marshall was 1-1 ATS as road underdogs a season ago, while Boise State was 3-3 as a home favorite.
The Broncos are big 12-point home favorites for this one. Overall, they were 5-2 at home in 2018, while the Thundering Herd was also a solid 5-2 on the road.
This should be an interesting Friday night contest between two good programs. The teams are in line defensively, but there’s a gap on offense. While Marshall put up a boatload of points last week, the competition level steps up dramatically in Week 2.
Boise State may have a new signal caller and RB leading the way, but early results suggest the offense should be in the range of last year. If they can drop 36 points on the road at Florida State – many while playing from behind – then the team should have little trouble functioning efficiently at home.
We’ll take the Broncos minus the points, but we do expect the Thundering Herd to keep things interesting through the early stages of the game.