Week 4 - Marshall at Rice

Posted Sep 19, 2012

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Marshall at Rice

Marshall (1-2) at Rice (1-2) Sept. 22, 3:30, CSS

Here's The Deal: Their non-conference schedules nearly complete, Marshall and Rice will kick off league play this weekend in Houston. Both schools are looking to return to the .500 mark, having bowed to tougher competition in September. The Thundering Herd is coming off a particularly tough loss, blowing a fourth-quarter lead at home to Ohio. The Owls return home after splitting their last two on the road, upsetting Kansas in Lawrence before getting spanked by Louisiana Tech in Ruston.

Why Marshall Might Win: The Herd's top rank nationally in passing will probably not be in jeopardy this weekend. Rice has been brutal at stopping the pass, yielding four touchdowns to Colby Cameron a week ago. Marshall QB Rakeem Cato has already lit up opponents for more than 1,200 yards, with ample support from receivers Aaron Dobson and Tommy Shuler.

Why Rice Might Win: Where Marshall leans on the arm of a single player, the Owls can win with balance. In fact, they're averaging just over 200 yards both on the ground and through the air. Rice amassed 477 yards last Saturday, getting a crisp all-around effort from QB Taylor McHargue and 116 rushing yards from RB Charles Ross.

What To Watch Out For: Can either team pressure the quarterback in a game that'll be dictated by the offenses? Rice has just four sacks in three games, which is twice as many as Marshall. Given the talent at the skill positions, a quarterback with too much time is going to be a major problem for both of these defenses.

What Will Happen: The points will come fast, the defenses will be overmatched and the final 15 minutes will be frenetic. Marshall has never won a game in the state of Texas, going 0-for-8 in its history. Rice will keep that streak alive, rallying late behind the playmaking ability of McHargue.

CFN Prediction: Rice 38 … Marshall 34
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Marshall -2.5 O/U: 70.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 1