Camellia Bowl: Marshall vs. Buffalo odds, preview, and pick
Christmas Day will have college football action for fans everywhere as Conference USA runner-up Marshall will face off against MAC runner-up Buffalo in the Camellia Bowl.
Fri, December 25 2020, 7:30 PM
Marshall Thundering Herd
Buffalo reeling after first defeat
The Bulls saw their unbeaten season upended in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game, when they were upset 38-28 by Ball State. Superstar RB Jaret Patterson was shut down, held to just 47 yards on 18 carries after racking up more than 200 yards per game through Buffalo’s first five games. He left the game with a knee injury but returned with a brace, and is expected to be ready to go for the Camellia Bowl.
Buffalo allowed 35 first-half points to the Cardinals, as Ball State scored three touchdowns in the final six minutes of the first half. Their run was aided by a 34-yard scoop-and-score less than a minute before halftime to put Ball State up 14 points. The offense’s inability to run the ball simply left them unable to catch back up, as they failed to score 40 points for the first time all season and had no answers for Ball State QB Drew Plitt.
Marshall also looking to recover from losses
Like Buffalo, the Thundering Herd were unbeaten much of the season after starting 7-0 on the year. Then they suffered a stunning 20-0 defeat to Rice to end the regular season, before losing 22-13 to UAB in the Conference USA Championship Game.
Marshall's scoreless first half against UAB meant the Thundering Herd went six consecutive quarters without a single point. Marshall went three-and-out four times before the break, and failed to gain more than 24 yards in a single drive until its ninth possession.
Despite the loss, Marshall showed why it has one of the best defenses in the nation, as it held UAB to just nine points through three quarters and 15 points until the final minutes when UAB connected on a 75-yard touchdown pass.
Unfortunately, It was not enough to overcome QB Grant Wells going 8-for-23 passing, as the Marshall's quarterback play was abysmal all game long. This came on the heels of Wells throwing five interceptions against Rice, so his play must improve if Marshall wants to get a win in the Camellia Bowl.
Will Buffalo cover the spread against Marshall in the Camellia Bowl?
Marshall's defense will prevail
Marshall ranks seventh in the nation in yards per play, fourth in points per game, and fifth in rushing yards. Given Buffalo’s sudden struggles to run the ball last week, in addition to Patterson possibly being limited by injury, this is a bad matchup for the Bulls.
Buffalo will need to rely on QB Kyle Vantrease more in this game, which is not great news for the Bulls. Before throwing for 365 yards against Ball State, he had thrown for a combined 290 yards in his previous three games. While Marshall’s quarterback play isn’t phenomenal, the Thunder Herd's defense should be able to control this game and give them enough chances to win.
Score prediction: Marshall 24, Buffalo 20