ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State (7-5) vs Marshall (7-5), Dec. 16, 4:30 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Line: Colorado State by 5½.
Series Record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Colorado State is playing in its fifth consecutive bowl game but has lost in its last three postseason appearances. The Rams started the season 6-2 then dropped three of the final four games. Marshall is 5-0 in bowl games since 2009 and has a 10-2 overall bowl record. The Thundering Herd also started the season strong by going 6-1 only to lose four of their last five. Both teams are limping into the New Mexico Bowl with hopes of catching some of that early magic to redeem their seasons.
Colorado State’s highly ranked offense versus Marshall’s stingy and aggressive defense. The Rams are led by quarterback Nick Stevens, who threw for 3,479 yards and 27 touchdowns this season. Colorado State also is ranked 10th in the FBS in yards per game with 501.1. The Thundering Herd rank 18th in the nation in scoring defense and 24th in total defense. Marshall has won 30 of its last 34 when holding offenses to 5 yards per play or fewer.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Colorado State: Senior running back Dalyn Dawkins leads the Rams with 1,349 rushing yards and is ranked 16th in the country. Wide receiver Michael Gallup is Colorado State’s deep threat and has 1,345 receiving yards this season. Gallup this year also has had six 100-yard games.
Marshall: Tight end Ryan Yurachek is the Thundering Herd’s active leader in career receptions and has caught a pass in 41 consecutive games. In addition, he has 25 career touchdown receptions. Quarterback Chase Litton has thrown for 2,853 yards this season and hopes to exploit the Rams’ shaky defense, which has given up 27.5 points per game.
FACTS & FIGURES
Colorado State played in the New Mexico Bowl in 2013 and the Rams came from behind to beat Washington State, 48-45, despite trailing by 22 in the second half. That was the last time Colorado State won a bowl game. … Under coach Doc Holliday, the Thundering Herd are 44-7 when they score first. Marshall has won 34 of its last 35 games when leading at halftime. … Marshall’s Chase Litton is fifth in school history in career passing yards with 8,070. Only three other quarterbacks have thrown for at least 8,000 yards and 70 touchdowns for the Thundering Herd, including former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington. … Rams offensive coordinator Will Friend is joining newly named head coach Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee. … The New Mexico Bowl is the final game for Rams defensive coordinator Marty English, who is retiring.