James Madison at Marshall
Thursday, 6:00 PM CT on ESPN
Here’s a Thursday night primetime matchup between a pair of teams that have made recent appearances in our Under the Radar Games series. Last week I talked about the undefeated James Madison Dukes ahead of a pivotal Sun Belt conference battle with Georgia Southern.
I, and many others, expected an exciting game.
That was not the case.
JMU massacred the Eagles 41-13. A previously leaky JMU pass defense held GSU’s wide open passing attack in check while Dukes QB Jordan McCloud put together an efficient performance on way to a dominant victory. That win cemented James Madison as the clear top team in the Sun Belt, which as I mentioned last week, is a shame considering they aren’t eligible to win the league title per NCAA rules.
Marshall is in a bit of a lull.
They gave it their all against NC State in a 48-41 defeat, but then things somewhat fell apart in a 41-24 loss to Georgia State. A blocked punt for a touchdown slightly skews a final score in a game that was otherwise pretty competitive. But it was still a tough loss for a Marshall team that expects to compete for the Sun Belt crown.
Still, this is a pretty good Thundering Herd squad, and Huntington can be a very difficult place to play. The key matchup to watch for will be James Madison’s top-ranked rush defense, surrendering just 43 yards a game, against Marshall RB Rasheen Ali, who has 641 yards and 11 rush TDs this season.