Our 2019 Gasparilla Bowl pick is the lone bowl contest being played on December 23, 2019. This Gasparilla Bowl pick has the UCF Knights at -15.5. The totals come in at 60.0. The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl will kick off at 2:30 pm ET. It will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The UCF Knights (9-3) were 6-2 in the American Athletic Conference. The Knights finished second in the AAC – East. In the division, the #21 Cincinnati Bearcats were first. One game ahead of UCF. The Marshall Thundering Herd (8-4) also posted a 6-2 record. That record earned them a second-place finish in C-USA – East. The Florida Atlantic Owls topped hat division. The Owls took the East by one game.
2019 Gasparilla Bowl Pick – Regular Season
UCF started the season with three wins. One of those wins was a 45-27 victory over Stanford. Next came a 35-34 loss to Pittsburgh. After that first loss, there was a win versus UConn, and then the team recorded their second loss of the season, as the Cincinnati Bearcats took down the Knights 27-24. Our 2019 Gasparilla Bowl pick notes that three straight wins followed. Tulsa then beat UCF 34-31. The Knights ended the season on an up note with two wins. In their final regular-season game, UCF beat the South Floroda Bulls 34-7.
Marshall started their 2019 season with a 2-3 mark. That included a 14-7 loss to the #24 Boise State Broncos and a 52-14 loss to Cincinnati. In that five-game span, the Thundering Herd did beat the Ohio Bobcats 33-31. Over their final seven games, Marshall went 6-1. The team’s one loss over that span was 24-13 to the Charlotte 49ers. The Herd did win their final regular-season contest, beating Florida International in OT 30-27.
UCF Knights vs. Marshall Thundering Herd – Stats
UCF is averaging 43.0 PPG and allowing 22.8. That gives the Knights a PF/PA differential of +20.2. The team is generating 536.6 offensive YPG. That includes 320 passing yards and 216.6 rushing yards. The D is allowing 344.8 YPG. They are holding teams to 199.9 air YPG, while allowing 144.9 YPG.
The Thundering Herd have a minimal PF/PA differential. Marshall is averaging 25.8 PPG, and the defense is allowing 23.1. Those numbers result in a differential of just +2.7. The team is averaging 200.9 YPG in the air and 195.6 ground YPG. Total offensive yards come to 396.5 YPG. On defense, the Thundering Herd are allowing opponents 362.3 YPG. Included in that total are 227.8 YPG in passing and 134.5 YPG in rushing.
UCF at Marshall – Players
The Knights bring a diverse offense to this game. The big question is can Marshall stop them? To have a chance, the Thundering Herd need to utilize their rush attack effectively, and on defense, they must slow down the UCF attack.
Freshman QB Dillon Gabriel has passed for 3,393 yards, tossing 27 TD passes and seven interceptions. Gabriel is completing 59.4% of his passes. He’s been sacked 21 times. He’ll be throwing to a receiving unit that has a trio of pass catchers each of whom have a minimum of 44 receptions. Together, they have caught 24 TD passes. WR Gabriel Davis has 74 catches, 1,241 yards, and a dozen TD catches. This team is deep in running backs. Four RBs have total 26 TD runs, and the group is averaging 6.4 YPA. Top running back, Otis Anderson, has 665 yards and five scores. This 2019 Gasparilla Bowl pick observes that this is a top-notch offensive unit.
The Knight defense has 31 sacks 11 INTs, and 61 PD. They’ve posted one pick-six, and of the half-dozen forced fumbles, UCF has recovered five. DL Brendon Hayes has 7.5 sacks and DL Kenny Turnier has 3.5 sacks. DB Antwan Collier has gathered three picks and defended five passes.
Marshall Thundering Herd
Sophomore Isaiah Green quarterbacks the Thundering Herd. He’s thrown 14 TD passes and nine picks. Total passing yards come to 2,265. Green has been sacked 22 times. His favorite target is TE Armani Levias. His 43 receptions and 486 yards top the team substantially. Levias has caught three scoring passes. RB Brenden Knox has 244 rushing attempts for 1,285 yards and 11 scores. He’s a major contributor on offense.
On defense, the Thundering Herd has posted 34 sacks, nine INTs, and 41 PD. They’ve forced eight fumbles and recovered six. DL Marquis Couch and LB Tyler Brown each have 4.5 sacks. Safety Nazeeh Johnson has taken down one pick and defended six passes.
Five Keys to the Game
In creating our 2019 Gasparilla Bowl pick, here are our keys to this game:
- Can the Herd stop the thundering UCF offense?
- Marshall needs to step up on offense
- Knights QB Dillon Gabriel has a deep group of receivers
- Thundering Herd RB Brenden Knox is the biggest offensive threat for Marshall
- Both teams should score points.
Our 2019 Gasparilla Bowl Pick
Our 2019 Gasparilla Bowl pick notes that it will be tough for Marshall to stop the potent UCF offense. Look for the Knights to turn it up early and keep their foot on the gas pedal. We’re taking the UCF Knights at -15.5 and the over at 60.0.
Be sure to read our over/under pick for tonight’s Monday Night Football game featuring the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings.