UTSA vs. Marshall prediction: Frisco Bowl odds, pick, best bet
Editor’s note: Rumors and line movement indicate that UTSA quarterback Frank Harris is not playing tonight.
Christmas means college football bowl season, which means Tuesday night games between UTSA and Marshall in the Scooters Coffee Frisco Bowl at Toyota Stadium in Texas.
The Roadrunners had a nice inaugural season in the AAC, winning seven of eight conference games but falling just short of a conference championship appearance.
Unfortunately, recreating similar success in the future will be tough without superstar quarterback Frank Harris, who will play his final college football game Tuesday after five seasons in San Antonio.
The Roadrunners will be highly motivated in this send-off party for Harris, while the Herd will be without their starting quarterback, Cam Fancher, who hit the portal after an underwhelming 6-6 (3-5) regular season.
The motivational angle is too strong to ignore.
Im betting on UTSA cruising in the Frisco Bowl.
UTSA vs Marshall odds
Odds via BetMGM## UTSA vs Marshall prediction
(9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Marshall played some solid defense this season, using a 4-2-5 base while blitzing a third of the time.
Edge rusher Owen Porter captained a unit that finished in the top 30 nationally in Success Rate, EPA per play and Points per Opportunity allowed.
Unfortunately, the Herd couldnt score, so they didnt win many games. Marshall scored 23 points per game, 95th nationally, and ranked sub-100th in nearly every advanced stat, including bottom five in Quality Drives generated Points per Opportunity.
I wouldnt expect anything different in the Frisco Bowl.
With Fancher in the portal, backup quarterback Cole Pennington will start. Hes the son of Marshall superstar Chad Pennington, who went on to quarterback the Jets, but Cole is no Chad. The younger Pennington has no touchdowns and six interceptions on his 79 attempts this year.
Cam Fancher of the Marshall Thundering Herd won’t play Tuesday. Getty ImagesMaking matters worse, the Herds best offensive lineman, Trent Holler, is also in the portal. Same with Caleb Coombs, the teams second-leading receiver (310).
An already poor and inexperienced backup quarterback wont have his best pass blocker Hollers allowed no sacks and only nine pressures in 725 snaps this year and one of his better weapons.
Marshall superstar running back Rasheen Ali is playing in the bowl, but Marshall hasnt produced much ground-and-pound success all year, and I dont think thatll change with a less-balanced attack.
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UTSAs defense is nothing special, but the Roadrunners should have no issues stopping a lifeless Marshall attack.
The question is if UTSA can move the ball on a great Marshall defense.
As previously mentioned, UTSAs offense should be highly motivated to send Harris off on a high note.
And Harris should be highly motivated to piece together a career performance. The lefty is among the most dynamic Group of Five passers ever, racking up almost 12,000 passing yards and 120 all-purpose touchdowns across his five seasons.
This year alone, Harris threw for over 2,500 yards with 18 touchdowns while adding another 300 and nine scores on the ground.
Move aside Ron Nirenberg, the real Mayor of San Antonio is UTSAs Frank Harris! HIS 6TH TD (3 Passing, 3 Rushing) TONIGHT pic.twitter.com/5eKzIdbEaG
— Sickos Committee (@SickosCommittee) November 18, 2023When hes cooking, hes hard to stop.
UTSAs bigger issue this year was moving the ball on the ground, as the Roadrunners ranked 111th nationally in Rush Success Rate behind a front five that ranked 102nd in Line Yards. They averaged only 4.4 yards per carry.
That said, UTSAs running back duo of Kevarian Barnes and Robert Henry were great at breaking chunk running plays, even if they didnt consistently move the ball on the ground. The Roadrunners finished fifth nationally in Rush Explosiveness and 21st in 10-or-more-yard rushing plays.
For some reason, Marshall was prone to allowing chunk rushing plays, finishing 129th nationally in Rush Explosiveness allowed and 123rd in 30-or-more-yard rush plays allowed (13).
Marshall might not score in the Frisco Bowl.
Conversely, between a hyperactive Harris and enough chunk ground plays, the Roadrunners should score enough to cover a two-touchdown spread and send the face of their franchise off into the sunset.
UTSA vs. Marshall pick
UTSA -12.5 at BetMGM Sportsbook | Play to -13.5
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