Marshall's Doc Holliday will put his perfect bowl record on the line against a USF team that has lost five consecutive games.
Thursday marks the third straight day of just one bowl game taking center stage, but it's the last night before we enter a period of having multiple bowls per day whenever there's matchups scheduled. In the meantime, Marshall and South Florida will take the spotlight in Tampa looking to close out their season on a high note.
To get you ready for Thursday's action, we’ve compiled a handy, digestible guide to the game for those needing a primer on the Gasparilla clash.
Bowls From Last Night: DXL Frisco Bowl – Ohio 27, San Diego State 0
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: USF vs. Marshall (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Why You Should Tune In: Some will see USF’s five-game losing streak and think Charlie Strong’s team has completely fallen off. And while that’s kind of true, there’s some context needed. The Bulls started 7–0 against six bad teams and one decent one (Georgia Tech). Since then, four of five games have either been on the road against teams with winning records or at home against UCF. Around .500 is just about right for this team, which hasn’t gotten much from QB Blake Barnett (a former five-star Alabama recruit who spent last year at Arizona State) but has a strong running game with Jordan Cronkrite. Marshall has a top-10 run defense in the country, so this will be strength on strength when USF has the ball.
Betting Preview: Struggling USF Has Hands Full With Marshall Defense
What You May Not Know: Marshall has the best bowl record of any team that has played in at least five bowls. The Thundering Herd are 11–2, including six wins in a row. Doc Holliday has never lost a bowl game. Another important fact: Marshall’s leading receiver is Tyre Brady and USF’s leading receiver is Tyre McCants. After some brief research, I’m pretty sure those are the only two players named Tyre contributing to FBS teams right now. For the record, it’s a Biblical name meaning strength. —Will Ragatz
Draft Prospect to Watch: South Florida's Mitchell Wilcox wasn’t your prototypical college tight end who set up on the line of scrimmage. Instead, Wilcox was found on most snaps in the slot, where he could provide a better catch radius for his quarterback. Wilcox, who finished second on the team with 40 catches, will need help to improve his blocking and it wouldn’t hurt for him to add 15–20 pounds to his frame. —Scooby Axson