Marshall vs. Colorado State: Gildan New Mexico Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Marshall vs. Colorado State: Gildan New Mexico Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Bowls College Football Playoff

Marshall vs. Colorado State: Gildan New Mexico Bowl Prediction, Game Preview


Three reasons why you should watch the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.

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Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Marshall (7-5) vs. Colorado State (7-5)


Date: Saturday, December 16
Game Time: 4:30 pm
Venue: Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
Network: ESPN

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The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 
37 out of 39

2017-2018 CFN Bowl Central: Schedules, Picks, Love
CFN Expert Consensus Confidence Picks

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Traditionally one of the first bowls of the season, if not the leadoff man, it usually starts out strong. Four of the last five New Mexico Bowls were decided by eight points or fewer, and three of those were decided by a grand total of seven points. What does that mean? These games are usually played by teams really happy just to be in a bowl – and they tend to play like it.

– Colorado State isn’t all that great at these bowl things – losing its last three and six of its last eight going back to 2001 – but it’s been able to crank up some wildly entertaining games, highlighted by last year’s 61-50 loss to Idaho in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. This year’s offense is even more explosive and just as fun. If it turns the machine on early, it could put a big, big number on the board. On the flip side …

Marshall is great at these bowl things. The Herd won their last five, and ten of their last 11, with most of them turning into close, tight battles. Granted, what a program did back in 1998 doesn’t have a whole lot of relevancy to right now, except that winning bowl games appears to be the expectation.

Here’s Why Marshall Will Win The Gildan New Mexico Bowl

The Herd secondary is fantastic. It might have allowed three touchdown passes in two of the last three games and nine in the last five, but it doesn’t get lit up. Only WKU – who never, ever runs – and NC State were able to hit the 300-yard mark against a defense that fewer than 180 yards in six of its last 10 games. The pass rush is just good enough to be a nuisance.

Control, control, control. Colorado State has one of the best offenses in the country when it comes to moving the chains, but MU can do that, too. The Herd convert over 45% of their third down chances, only dipping below 40% twice all season. Since the opener against Oregon State, the Rams are 0-5 when allowing teams to hit the 45% third down mark.

The Marshall offensive line is phenomenal in pass protection. Second in the nation in sacks allowed, Levi Brown and the line allowed just eight sacks on the season. Colorado State’s pass rush is okay, not great, and it’ll disappear at times. That all ties into the third down conversion world the Herd have to own.

Here’s Why Colorado State Will Win The Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Bombs away. Marshall has a nice defense, and a good enough offense to get by, but this isn’t an explosive attack that will do a whole lot in shootouts. The passing game will come up with a touchdown passes – with two or more seven times on the year – but the interceptions are there to be had, too. MU QB Chase Litton is a veteran who can throw, but Colorado State is far, far better equipped to get into a firefight. The Rams will be happy get this going up and down the field.

Marshall relies on defense and a good passing game because there’s little to no running game at times. Even with a great line, the Herd can’t come up with steady production against anyone but the weak and the sad, only generating 200 yards once and averaging fewer than four yards per carry on the season. 1,349-yard back Dalyn Dawkins balances out the Ram offense with an element the Herd don’t have. And then there’s …

Nick Stevens to Michael Gallup. Stevens threw for almost 3,500 yards on the year with 27 scores – throwing for two or more in 10 of the 12 games – with Gallup the main man at the end of 94 passes for 1,345 yards and seven scores. How is Stevens in bowl games? In the last two, 750 yards and five scores. Second in the nation in third down conversions – helped in a big way by these two – Colorado State is consistently dominant.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Gildan New Mexico Bowl

The New Mexico Bowl needs to be good early. Most college football fans will probably be into the Las Vegas Bowl – Boise State vs. Oregon – with starts an hour before this. Marshall and Colorado State need to give America a reason to care over the second half, or in an even better scenario, the Las Vegas game is a blowout.  

Marshall has to prove it can close strong. Last year, it fell flat losing five of its last six games, and now it’s on a bad run losing four of its last five. The team isn’t playing poorly – three of those losses were close battles that could’ve gone the other way – but they were still losses. The only wins over bowl teams? WKU and Middle Tennessee.

It’s the last game for Colorado State defensive coordinator Marty Englishwho’s set to retire after this – but the Rams also need someone new to beef up the defensive side. Marshall might be on a rough run coming into this, but the Rams struggled, too, with a three-game losing streak including a late defensive collapse against Boise State and a rough day against the Air Force running game. One way or another, the CSU D will be a storyline.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Gildan New Mexico Bowl?

Marshall will put up plenty of yards and keep this more than just a little interesting, but Colorado State will come up with the offensive firepower to survive.

But beware – the Rams are flaky. The offense didn’t work against Wyoming in a loss, and it was stopped cold by a mediocre Colorado D early in the season. However, this is a statement moment for the program and the coaching staff after a disappointing year.

This was supposed to be the Rams’ Mountain West season, and it didn’t happen. But Stevens, Gallup, Dawkins and the attack will make up for the other issues and misfires with a strong final day in a bit of a shootout. It won’t be like the loss to Idaho last year but the points will come from both sides.

Final Score

Colorado State 38, Marshall 30
More Bowl Info & Get Tickets


Colorado State -5.5, o/u: 58

ATS Confidence: 1.5
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar

Must See Rating: 2.5
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas

New Mexico Bowl History, Results

Dec. 19, 2016 New Mexico 23, UTSA 20
Dec. 19, 2015 Arizona 45 New Mexico 37
Dec. 20, 2014 Utah State 21 UTEP 6
Dec. 21, 2013 Colorado State 48 Washington State 45
Dec. 15, 2012 Arizona 49 Nevada 48
Dec. 17, 2011 Temple 37 Wyoming 15
Dec. 18, 2010 BYU 52 UTEP 24
Dec. 19, 2009 Wyoming 35 Fresno State 28 (2 OT)
Dec. 20, 2008 Colorado State 40 Fresno State 35
Dec. 22, 2007 New Mexico 23 Nevada 0
Dec. 23, 2006 San Jose State 20 New Mexico 12


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