Quarterbacks — FIU
James Morgan has again protected the football well for the Panthers, throwing for 2,037 yards and 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions. Last year against Marshall, he came in with similar numbers, but struggled with interceptions. For Marshall, Isaiah Green has to re-establish his rhythm under center and get the offense balanced with the passing game.
Running backs — Marshall and FIU
Marshall running back Brenden Knox is the best back on the field, but the tandem of FIU’s Anthony Jones and Napoleon Maxwell are also strong. The FIU duo has combined for more than 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season. Knox has rushed for 1,138 yards and 10 touchdowns by himself.
Receivers — FIU
The Panthers feature a veteran receiving corps with guys like Austin Maloney, Tony Gaiter and Shemar Thornton in the mix. Thornton leads the group with 45 catches for 567 yards and five touchdowns. Marshall’s tight ends had a tough day full of drops last week and the wide receivers have to register more than one catch — such as last week — for the Herd to be successful.
Offensive line — Marshall and FIU
Both teams have been strong in this area in 2019 to help their offenses achieve balance. FIU’s offensive line is one of the tops in the country at protecting the quarterback, allowing just 13 sacks on the season. Marshall’s strength has been blocking for the run game which is around 200 yards per contest.
Defensive line — Marshall
The Herd defensive front has the ability to set the tone on the interior against the Panthers this week. Channing Hames needs a strong game in his final one at the Joan and Jamare Edwards has also been playing well. FIU has some size on its interior that could pose problems — namely, Teair Tart.
Linebackers — Marshall
Omari Cobb and Tyler Brown are solid, but the play of Tavante Beckett has elevated over the past few weeks, including last week’s 15-tackle performance. FIU also has one of the league’s top linebackers in Sage Lewis, who will be called on to aid the Panthers in stopping Knox.
Secondary — FIU
FIU has grabbed 11 interceptions on the season, using the veteran play of Rishard and Richard Dames, along with Olin Cushion and Stantley Thomas-Oliver to limit teams in the passing game. Especially with conditions expected to be wet, these guys could be game-changers in this one. Marshall is looking to bounce back from a horrendous outing at Charlotte.
Special teams — Marshall
Marshall’s lone touchdown last week came off a blocked punt and the Herd also blocked a punt for a score last season against FIU. FIU kicker Jose Borregales has struggled this season, but possesses a strong leg that is good from 50+. Marshall cannot allow FIU’s Austin Maloney to break any returns in the kickoff game, either.
Getting it done — Marshall
Simply put, the Herd can’t afford to let another one slip away — especially on Senior Day. It will be cold, wet and that could spell trouble for FIU, especially with the threat of an emotional havngover from last week’s win over Miami. Marshall gets it done, 24-20.