Marshall Thundering Herd football fell in their final game of 2019, losing to Central Florida in the Gasparilla Bowl, 48-25. The Herd wasn’t able to overcome a terrible start, despite closing the gap to 16 points in the third quarter.
Unfortunately for Marshall backers at West Virginia sportsbooks, the team didn’t cover the sizable point spread either. Marshall was receiving around 18 points at sportsbooks prior to the game.
UCF jumped out to a fast start and led 21-0 within the blink of an eye. The Herd’s only first-half points came from a Micah Abraham 75-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Marshall adjusted at the half and came out swinging to get back into the game. It scored 18 points in the third but wasn’t able to stop the Knights, either. UCF scored three touchdowns of its own to just about seal its 10th victory of the year.
While losing is never great, it was still a successful season in Huntington. The Herd finished with an 8-5 record overall and another bowl appearance under coach Doc Holliday.
With the loss, college football bettors in the Mountain State can turn their attention to some of the bigger bowl games still to play. Although they started a week ago, there is still plenty of bowl action remaining on the schedule.
Thanks to the mobile sports betting apps available in WV, bettors can place wagers on any bowl game right from home. Of course, that will come in handy for betting on college football bowl games on New Year’s Day.
Marshall Football Goes Down
Marshall knew it was going to have a difficult game as soon as the bowl matchups were released. UCF has been one of the most successful teams in all of college football in the last three seasons.
The Knights showcase a high-powered offense with a skilled quarterback and lots of athletes around him. So when UCF was able to score two defensive touchdowns in the first quarter alone, Marshall fans knew it would be a long afternoon.
Herd quarterback Isaiah Green threw a pick-six on the third play of the game to give UCF the lead less than a minute into the game.
His pass appeared to be on target, but a good play by the UCF secondary knocked the ball loose as it dropped into the hands of Richie Grant. The Knights’ defensive back returned it 39 yards for the first points of the game.
Later in the quarter, Tre’Mon Morris-Brash scooped up the loose ball on Marshall’s attempt at a trick play. The lateral back to Green never made it and 45 yards later the Knights led 21-0 about halfway through the first quarter.
Coach Holliday knew the slow start significantly hurt Marshall’s chances. According to the WV Gazette-Mail, he said:
“We dug ourselves a hole there in the first half and we had a hard time getting out of it.”
In total, the Herd committed five turnovers compared to UCF’s one.
Besides the turnovers, Green struggled all game. He only completed nine of 23 pass attempts for 173 yards through the air. Green threw two interceptions as well as a touchdown.
Both the inclement weather and a slight injury seemed to slow down the Herd’s sophomore quarterback. Backup Alex Thomson actually came in for a moment and completed his only two pass attempts.
Although running back Brenden Knox eclipsed 100 rushing yards, he wasn’t as successful as usual. He averaged just four yards per carry in the bowl after averaging over five for the season.
The Gasparilla Bowl was a disappointing end to 2019, however, Marshall’s roster is filled with talent and should have another good team next year.