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2013 Military Bowl - Marshall 31, Maryland 20

2013 Military Bowl - Marshall 31, Maryland 20

2013-2014 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2013 Military Bowl

Marshall 31, Maryland 20
Basically … Rakeem Cato threw three touchdowns passes with two eight-yarders to Gator Hoskins with the first coming late in the first quarter and the other to put the game away with under four minutes to play in the fourth. The two teams went back and forth, with C.J. Brown throwing two touchdown passes for the Terps including a 29-yarder to Levern Jacobs in the first and a two-yarder to Dave Stinebaugh in the fourth, but two key drives stalled and brown was picked off by A.J. Leggett to all but snuff out any final chances.

- Marshall QB Rakeem Cato completed 28-of-44 passes for 337 yards and three scores, and he ran seven times for 15 yards.
- Marshall TE Gator Hoskins caught six passes for 104 yards and two scores.
- Marshall DE Alex Bazzie made seven tackles with a sack and four tackles for loss.
- Maryland DT Andre Monroe made ten tackles with a sack, a quarterback hurry and three tackles for loss.
- Maryland SS Sean Davis made ten tackles
- Maryland QB C.J. Brown completed 14-of-24 passes for 197 yards and two scores.
- Maryland RB Brandon Ross ran 20 times for 116 yards

CFN Preview

Marshall (9-4) vs. Maryland (7-5) Dec. 27, 2:30, ESPN

Here's The Deal … Bowl games are businesses. Getting the local Terps and a Marshall program that travels well to Annapolis figures to be good for the bottom line.

The sixth edition of the Military Bowl will mark the first-ever meeting between these two Mid-Atlantic programs. Maryland will be playing in its first postseason game in three years, a much-needed bowl berth for head coach Randy Edsall. For the second straight year, the Terrapins were hampered by season-ending injuries, yet a fast start and a couple of key November wins led to bowl-eligibility. This program, for those who forgot, was actually ranked in early October before getting ambushed by Florida State, 63-0.

For the Thundering Herd, the trip across the border is actually a consolation prize for losing to Rice in the Conference USA championship game. Marshall carried a head of steam into Houston on Dec. 7, having blitzed East Division favorite East Carolina, but was unable to nab its first crown in 11 years and the Liberty Bowl invitation that came with it. Edsall and Herd head coach Doc Holliday have travelled similar paths this fall. Both were under the gun in the preseason, but have been able to exhale a little with this bowl invite.

Players to Watch: If not for the toughness and determination of QB C.J. Brown, Maryland would have hung up the pads weeks ago. The senior got bounced around and missed a couple of games, yet when he was needed on the road last month, he rushed for 260 yards and five touchdowns in wins over Virginia Tech and NC State. Brown is the heart and soul of this Terrapin team, especially since talented receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long have long since been declared out for the year. Brown sure could use a little more support from RB Brandon Ross, who hasn't rushed for 100 yards since Week 2.

While the Terps are more likely to travel by ground, Marshall can move the ball in any number of different ways. The Herd is averaging 43 points a game, and it features a 1,000-yard rusher, Essray Taliaferro, and a couple of all-star pass-catchers, WR Tommy Shuler and TE Gator Hoskins. However, the undisputed ringleader is QB Rakeem Cato, who's accounted for 42 touchdowns and only nine interceptions this season. The junior has a great feel for the offense, and he does a solid job of spreading the ball around, with a minimum of costly mistakes.

Can the Herd stop the run on Friday afternoon? While the defense in Huntington has generally earned attaboys this season, Marshall didn't win the Conference USA title in large part because it was unable to stop the north-south running of Rice RB Charles Ross and multi-dimensional QB Taylor McHargue. Maryland not only has a Ross of its own in the backfield, but also an athletic quarterback. The Herd will rely on a small and quick front seven, led by DT James Rouse, LB Jermaine Holmes and DE Alex Bazzie, that'll be facing an unproven Terp blocking unit.

A talented collection of Maryland linebackers will be on full display this week in Annapolis. Operating out of a 3-4, the Terrapins aim to get a swath of veteran athletes on the field at the same time. Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree are mainstays, but Marcus Whitfield and Matt Robinson are the playmakers on the outside. Whitfield gets employed an awful lot like a rush end, using a quick first step to make 14.5 stops for loss and a team-high nine sacks from the second level. Robinson is coming off one of his best games with the program, notching 17 tackles in the Nov. 30 win over NC State.

Marshall will win if … Cato has time in the pocket.

When Cato is afforded the extra second or two he needs to check down his receivers and spot the open man, he's virtually unstoppable. The junior has a firm grasp on the offense and a deep and athletic support cast at the skill positions. Maryland needs to rattle the quarterback, making him force throws into coverage, while pounding his diminutive frame. A relaxed Cato is a prolific Cato, which usually results in a Thundering Herd victory.

Maryland will win if … Brown is the best quarterback on the field.

It's no secret that as No. 16 goes, so goes Maryland. Brown has to be the MVP of the game, because the Terps don't have any other players capable of handling the hero role. He'll have to do it all, picking up yards with his feet, while feeding receivers Levern Jacobs and Amba Etta. As a team, Maryland must find a way to rush for more than 100 yards on the Herd. When the Terrapins have passed that threshold this season, they've won all seven games.

What Will Happen: A healthy Brown is going to be a heroic Brown.

Cato is very good, but Brown is capable of being transformational, something he's proven intermittently throughout his injury-prone career. He'll do so one more time, doing whatever is necessary to guide his Terps to a hard-fought win. Yeah, Marshall has had a nice season, but the team buckled when Rice ran right at it earlier in the month. Brown will deliver one of the best all-around efforts of the first-half of the bowl slate, accounting for all four Maryland touchdowns, two on the ground and two through the air.

Prediction: Maryland 31 … Marshall 30
Line: Marshall -2.5 o/u: 62
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