Conference USA Championship Game UAB vs Marshall

Conference USA Championship Game UAB vs Marshall | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

Written by on December 16, 2020

The first conference championship football game to kick off this weekend is from Conference USA as UAB visits Marshall with potentially a better bowl awaiting the winner. The Thunder Herd are home favorites on the NCAAF odds.

How to Bet UAB at Marshall NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Friday, 7 PM ET
  • Where: Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, W. Va.
  • TV: CBS Sports Network
  • Stream: CBS Sports app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: Marshall -5.5 (total 42)

Last Meeting

The teams last met in 2014 when the Thundering Herd pulled out a 23-18 victory at Legion Field. The last time they met in Huntington was the previous year (November 9, 2013) when the Thundering Herd triumphed 56-14 on the strength of 657 yards of total offense. Marshall leads all-time 8-2, including 5-0 at home.

Why Bet on UAB? | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Blazers (5-3) had four straight games canceled before returning last week with a 21-16 win over Rice with UAB missing several guys due to COVID-19. In doing so, UAB became the first program in Conference USA history to win three straight divisional titles.

Down 11 key contributors, traveling just over 40 scholarship players and playing its first game in 42 days, the Blazers withstood a last-second Hail Mary attempt as Grayson Cash intercepted the pass to secure the victory. The Blazers defense turned in a great performance with five sacks, 12 TFL, six pass breakups and an interception.

In his first start since Sept. 10, quarterback Tyler Johnston III completed 9-of-18 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. He eclipsed career 4,000 yards during the game and is fifth all-time on the UAB passing list with 4,177 yards. Johnston had been splitting the starting duties with Bryson Lucero earlier in the season.

After going 1-of-1 (1 touchdown) in the red zone, UAB is now 30-of-32 in the red zone this season, with 23 touchdowns and seven field goals. UAB head coach Bill Clark won his 50th game as a college football head coach. Clark holds an overall record of 50-26 (.658) and a record at UAB of 39-22 (.639). Clark has been rumored as a candidate at Auburn.

Both UAB and Marshall will be playing in the C-USA Championship Game for the third time, with each owning one title. Marshall won in 2014 and UAB took the crown in 2018. All three of UAB’s championship game appearances have come on the road, and the Blazers were the first away team in C-USA history to win the league title back in 2018.

The Blazers have a C-USA best 33 victories since the start of 2017, while Marshall is one game behind with 32 total victories.

Why Bet on Marshall? | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Marshall (7-1) last played on Dec. 5 also against Rice and was upset 20-0. Marshall entered the game plus-six in turnover margin for the season, and had won the turnover battle in five of seven games. Redshirt freshman quarterback Grant Wells tossed five interceptions after having four in his first seven collegiate games. Wells entered the afternoon with 1,674 passing yards and 16 touchdowns across his first seven starts.

The Owls were able to apply some rare pressure to Wells, sacking him three times, too. The Herd O-Line had protected Wells, as he had been dropped a total of just four times in the previous seven.

The Herd offense managed 245 yards, more than 100 shy of its previous season-low output at Western Kentucky. Brenden Knox (20 carries) and Wells (eight attempts) were the only two ball carriers, combining for 80 yards. The Thundering Herd had their nine-game home winning streak and nine-game C-USA home winning streak snapped. Marshall fell to 21-4 all-time playing as a Top 25 team and fell out of the polls.

Friday’s matchup pairs two of the top defenses in the nation. The Blazers, who have finished Top 10 nationally each of the last two years, enter the contest ranked 15th nationally in total defense (316.5). Marshall currently ranks second nationally in total defense (253.9) and is the No. 1 scoring defense in the country, allowing just 11.4 points per game.

Marshall is 6-0 all-time in conference championship games inside Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The Thundering Herd downed Louisiana Tech in 2014 in the C-USA title game (26-23). During its days in the Mid-American Conference, Marshall won five title contests (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002) in Huntington.

Game Trends

  • Blazers are 1-6 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Blazers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as a road underdog.
  • Blazers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Friday games.
  • Thundering Herd are 9-19 ATS in their last 28 games as a favorite.
  • Thundering Herd are 6-17 ATS in their last 23 home games.

Expert Prediction

  • Marshall 23, UAB 17

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