By: Chris Brumfield
Preview: Marshall at West Virginia
Finally! The day we have all been waiting on is finally near. It’s been nearly nine months since we have last witnessed a meaningful college football game, and I couldn’t be any happier. Now, all I’m hoping for is a complete game, hopefully Mother Nature will oblige after the weather shortened match-up from last year.
The current line is showing WVU as a 25.5 point favorite, but I think the game could be a slightly closer contest based upon the history of the games between these two teams. The game will be televised Saturday, at noon eastern, on FX.
Who to Watch:
WVU: Everybody is looking out for QB Geno Smith, and speedy WR Tavon Austin these days, as both have been placed on pre-season award watch lists, and some even considering both as Heisman Trophy Candidates, but my eyes will be on WVU’s other threat,WR Steadman Bailey. Bailey will be playing with a chip on his shoulder after being left off the Big East First-Team a year ago, and even more so after being left off of several pre-season watch lists this summer. His 1279 receiving yards led the conference, which makes an interesting case for Bailey. Last year against The Herd, Bailey was having a solid contest in the weather shortened game (5 Rec, 75 Yds, 1 TD), and I look for bigger things in this contest. Bailey has excellent rapport with Smith, and at times last year was the number one option in WVU’s aerial attack. Also, after the highlight reel Austin and Smith compiled in the Orange Bowl verses Clemson, I expect Austin to see more than his fair share of double teams, leaving Bailey one on one most of the afternoon.
MU: For Marshall, my eyes will be on another offensive player, WR Aaron Dobson. Dobson is garnering all sorts of attention these days after really coming on strong at the end of 2011, when he made “The Catch” against East Carolina, he had a strong game that afternoon finishing with four catches, for 110 yards, and 2 scores, one being the aforementioned catch, and the other being a 77 yarder, helping spark The Herd to victory, and bowl eligibility. For the season he snagged 49 balls, for 668 yards, and 12 scores; his combination of size, speed, and knack for making tough catches has a lot of people excited around Huntington, especially after getting preseason All-CUSA honors. I also think he could be primed for a big game with WVU losing their top DB Keith Tandy to the NFL this offseason. Tandy was a savvy player who had a knack for making big plays, and hits, making quarterbacks think twice before going his way. Dobson should be able to take advantage of this void and have a really nice day hooking up with a more confident, and experienced QB Rakeem Cato.
Opening the season in a rivalry game is always interesting. You can never fully anticipate how either team will react, and penalties are always prevalent in these games, making it hard to give an accurate prediction, but I feel that the Mountaineers have too much talent on the offensive side to lose this one, but Marshall will play well, in fact they will make the game seem a lot closer than the final that I am predicting. Enough beating around the bush, WVU 49, Marshall 27, in a game full of penalties and turnovers. If you like what you read please continue to follow me at www.chinstrapsports.com.