Kent State Golden Flashes (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS, 2-0 O/U) vs. Marshall Thundering Herd (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS, 2-0 O/U)
When and Where: Saturday, Sept. 16, Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, Wv., 6:30pmET
Line: Marshall -14.5
Marshall hopes to lick their wounds after falling at NC State, 37-20 last week. Kent State is coming off a tough win over FCS Howard, 38-31. The Bison were looking at the rare feat of winning straight against FBS opponents. That victory for Kent State came after getting shellacked by Clemson in their opener, 56-3. Marshall’s opener came against another MAC team with a 31-26 win over Miami-Ohio. The teams last played in 2015, with Marshall winning in overtime, 36-29.
Kent State might want to rev up the defense
The Golden Flashes gave up 56 points to Clemson, even without Deshaun Watson. That’s somewhat understandable but last Saturday, they allowed Caylin Newton (Cam’s younger brother) to lead Howard to 452 total yards of offense. Howard also led by one late in the third quarter before Kent State scored two straight touchdowns on Kesean Gamble short runs. Newton was just 9-of-22 for 225 yards and was held to just 34 yards rushing on 14 carries with two touchdowns. It was a sloppy win for Kent State, with two lost fumbles and 13 penalties committed. Quarterback Nick Holley struggled in the passing game, throwing for 106 yards and two TDs but has completed just 45 percent of his passes this season (just one passing yard against Clemson). He did lead the Golden Flashes in rushing with 119 yards on 21 carries. Last season, Holley (5-10, 200) ran for 920 yards and 10 touchdowns, while passing for 868 yards with four TDs and three picks.
Defensively, Kent State has given up 565 yards per game and at least they are balanced. They’ve allowed 296 yards rushing per game and 269 passing yards per contest. Offensively, they are averaging 259.5 yards per game and just 53 passing yards per contest. That’s including the Clemson game, where they totaled just 120 offensive yards.
Marshall competes with Wolfpack but can’t finish
Marshall had a 20-17 lead in the second quarter and was down by just three at the half. But they were held scoreless in the second half and were outscored 14-0. Offensively, it was a strong showing for the Thundering Herd, who compiled 453 yards of offense, including 350 in the air from quarterback Chase Litton, who had two TDs and a pick. The 6-6 junior has 558 passing yards with three TDs and two picks on 63 percent passing in two games this season. Last year, Litton threw for 2,612 yards with 24 TDs and nine picks. Wide receiver Tyre Brady also had a monster game for the Herd, which included a 75-yard touchdown pass from Litton in the second quarter. He ended up with 11 catches for 248 yards. The 6-3 senior speedster came into this season with just nine catches in his career, which began at Miami-Florida.
Defensively, Marshall has some work to do. They allowed 341 passing yards against the Wolfpack as quarterback Ryan Finley completed 29 of 36 passes for three TDs and no picks. On the season, they are allowing 319.5 yards per game in the air and 457.5 yards per game overall. On offense, they are averaging just 81 yards per game on the ground and that’s the big concern.
Kent State is:
- Road team is 4-1 ATS last 5 in series.
- 1-7 ATS last 8 after an ATS win.
Marshall’s defense is a big concern. Their ground defense isn’t bad but the Golden Flashes are a running team. Still, I think 14.5 points is too much to lay for a bad defensive team.