Marshall is going to be a hard game for Buffalo, maybe the hardest of the year.
Both the Herd, and the Bulls earned the right to be considered some of the better teams in college football this season. Both teams ended up being the runner up in their respective conferences. Both teams are heading into the Camellia Bowl with something to prove.
Buffalo’s loss in the MAC championship game came despite the Bulls out-gaining the Cardinals 499 yards to 439. But several key mistakes, including a blocked field goal, a strip sack that became a BSU touchdown and two drives end on downs in the second half doomed their effort to finish the year ranked and undefeated.
Marshall was also having a banner season before a couple of late losses, including dropping their appearance against UAB in the Conference USA championship game.
Ball State managed to lock down Jaret Patterson, and while Buffalo was able to move the ball well through the air they would much rather put it in the hands of their all-american running back and let him carry them to victory.
If called upon Kevin Marks has shown to be more than cabale of carrying the offense. But whoever ends up in the backfield will face the best run defense in conference USA. Marshall held teams to 2.7 yards per carry and only allowed one squad to get more than 130 yards this season.
Marshall is lead by freshman quarterback Grant Wells. Wells has passed for almost 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the year Until the last couple of games this season he had looked unbeatable behind center.
If he gets that back it’s going to be a real chore for Buffalo to contain an offense which scored 38 or more points in five of the Herds first seven games. A Buffalo secondary that plays like it did against BSU is going to really struggle.
On the good news front Marshall’s leading rusher has opted out of the Bowl game this season. His backup, Sheldon Evans, will get the Bulk of the carries this year. (248 yards and four touchdowns) is expected to get the bulk of the carries.
Kickoff is at
1:30 (sorry folks, I am in CST and forget that sometimes) 2:30, Christmas day, on ESPN.