Bix's Picks - Marshall

It is time once again for still another edition of Bix's Picks. Once again please keep in mind that these predictions are for entertainment purposes only, and I should not be confused and/or compared with those loud, obnoxious and overbearing wannabe soothsayers you hear prior to game time every Saturday and Sunday.

With that being said, let's look at this week's game between the visiting 0-3 Thundering Herd of Marshall and our beloved and dare I say undefeated Bearcats of Cincinnati.

 

Coach Brian Kelly's squad returns home to the friendly confines of Nippert Stadium boasting a 3-0 record and coming off an impressive 47-10 pasting of our little sisters to the North, the Redskins of Miami.  Injury wise the Bearcats got out of the Miami game relatively unscathed.  In addition and what I perceive to be an extra bonus, Coach Kelly reintroduced us to some ‘Cat named Dustin Grutza.  I've got to admit that a certain part of my anatomy began to have an adverse reaction (I believe it is called shrinkage) when Dustin was announced as the starter replacing injured Ben Mauk at QB.  Happily Ol' #4 proceeded to enjoy his best game in a Bearcat uniform, and I am pleased to report that all is well downstairs anatomically.

 

Once again the heart and soul of this squad, our defense, was exemplary and set the tone for the dismemberment of the Miami offense.  The speed and tenacity of this defense is finally getting some much deserved national attention, and I seriously doubt we can expect anything but continued excellence from this facet of the team Saturday night against Marshall.

 

The exact antithesis of the Bearcats rolls into Nippert Saturday night in the form of the  Marshall Thundering Herd.  Third year head coach Mark Snyder's charges are a shell of the once dominant teams that ruled the MAC.  The 31-3 away loss to Miami of Florida raised a bit of a concern among the faithful but was considered an "acceptable" loss.  The home loss to in-state archrival WVU saw the Herd leading at the half and keeping it close through the third quarter, only to come up short to the heavily favored Mountaineers by a 48-23 final score.  Everything was still pretty much copasetic until the #10 ranked squad in the nation showed up to do battle at Edwards Stadium last Saturday to claim a 48-35 victory.  Understandable loss right?  Well, not so much.  You see New Hampshire is the number 10 ranked team in Division  IAA.  And believe me, New Hampshire is no Appalachian State.  This was a bad home loss.  A very bad home loss when you factor in that Marshall's record at home since 1991 is an outstanding 109-13.  It is my understanding that due to attendance in the 4-th quarter, Marshall's catch phrase, "We are Marshall" had to be changed to "I am Marshall."  These guys come into Cincy very young, beaten up and beaten down.

 

On offense I am sure Coach Snyder is hoping Bernard Morris doesn't wait until they are losing 24-0 to declare himself fit to play.  Morris is an exceptional athlete and comes off a career day throwing for 417 yards and 3 TD's in just over 2 quarters.  Morris has a turf toe condition which hopefully will subside enough for him to participate Saturday night.  If Morris doesn't start , his replacement is redshirt freshman Brian Anderson.  Anderson is a less than impressive 11-24 for 89 yards and 2 picks this season.  If Morris can't go, it is going to get really ugly really early.  I can only liken it to the night I met my first and current wife.  Marshall has a few very respectable wide outs in junior college junior Darius Passmore, sophomore Courtney Edmonson and junior Emmanuel Spann.  Passmore is the cream of this crop sporting 4.3 forty speed.  Sophomore TE Cody Slate is Morris's go to guy.  Slate is an excellent athlete with good hands that appears to be cut from the same cloth as the Colts' Dallas Clark.  True frosh RB Darius Marshall will get the bulk of the work out of the backfield with junior Kelvin Turner spelling him.  If Morris can't go, and he left the field of play after last Saturday's contest wearing a boot and on crutches, don't be surprised if freshman QB Mark Cann gets his redshirt lifted.  Cann apparently performed better in summer practice than much heralded recruit Chris Smith and could get the nod over an unproductive Anderson.  Regardless, if you are scoring along at home, you will notice an inordinate amount of freshmen and sophomores that are expected to deliver for this offense.

 

Marshall's defense can only be described as a M*A*S*H unit.  A full 40% of their "D" is done or dying and once again the freshmen and sophomores will be expected to compete against a far more mature and seasoned Bearcat squad Saturday.

 

The bottom line for the Bearcats Saturday is that they will facing a very young and inexperienced Marshall squad.  If Ben Mauk's shoulder is sound, he will have a BIG night throwing to Barnett, Gilyard, Goodman, Jackson and Barwin.  As far as the running game is concerned, we can expect gaping holes for our rendition of the Four Horsemen; Benton, Moore, Glatthaar and Ramsey, to ramble through at will.  I expect the offense to shoulder its fair share of the load this week.  Defensively, our athleticism, speed, depth and experience will overwhelm the Herd's "O".  Three and outs will become acceptable to the Marshall offense after they've turned the ball over a few times early.  All in all, I see a game very similar to the Miami game last week.  They have a uncertain QB situation, and they are banged up.  The final nail in their coffin is their youth.  Youth that an already opportunistic Bearcat defense will exploit to the fullest.  My only hope is that we bust up these Bisons to the point where amnesia sets in.  You see, UC has a date next October 4-th at Edwards Stadium, and by that time, these young Buffalos are going to have grown some horns.

 

LAST WEEKS RESULTS….

 

An apparent miracle took place last week as we were able to just squeak by those dreaded Injuns to the North by a 47-10 margin.  The stars had to be aligned as we were able to claim victory on the side at minus 9.5 as well as over the total of 48.5.  That being said, my wife's virtue stays intact as the wager for the keys to the chastity belt remain in my possession.  However, just between you, me and the fence post, I haven't been able to locate those damn things since my birthday……in December!!!

 

THE SKINNY….

 

The early line had the Bearcats as 21.5 point favorites.  However, the side has been bet up to as high as 24.5 at some books.  The over /under has been set at 54.

 

 

 

THE PLAY….

 

I know it is an ocean of points, but I see UC's offense, defense and special teams scoring in this one, and in waves.  Lay the 24.5 in a big fashion and go over the 54 as 5 of the last 6 lined Bearcat games and 9 of the last 10 lined Marshall games have all gone over the number.   How confident am I?  So much so that this week I'm again betting those missing keys as well as the banana hammock they are hidden in!!!  Always remember, "Gamblin' money's got no home" and Go Bearcats!!!!


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