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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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College Football Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Marshall Thundering Herd Start Time, Odds, Free Pick

Heisman Voters Must Notice Rakeem Cato After He Breaks FBS Record

The Marshall Thundering Herd welcome in the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in college football action on Friday. The game is scheduled for a noon start time and it will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1. Currently the odds for the game have the Thundering Herd favored by better than three touchdowns in this one.

Marshall finally got some recognition this past week by being ranked 24th in the college football poll. Marshall is also looking to become just the third team in Conference USA history to finish with an undefeated regular season. While Marshall is heavily favored to pick up the win in this game, Western Kentucky isn't a terrible football team.

The Hilltoppers rank second in the conference in scoring offense and eighth nationally at 41.9 points per game. Brandon Doughty has thrown for almost 3.900 yards this season, an average of better than 350 yards per game for Western Kentucky. He's tossed 36 touchdowns as well, so the Hilltoppers will be looking to score points in this one. Defensively, though, they might have a problem. Opponents have put up an average of 37 points per game this year against the Hilltoppers. Marshall comes into the game scoring 45 points per game, which is good for fourth best in the country. 

Rakeem Cato has nearly 2,900 yards passing himself as the quarterback of the Thundering Herd. He's completed 28 passes for touchdowns this season and led Marshall to an 11-0 record prior to this one. Another win would put Marshall in the Conference USA title game, giving them another chance to showcase themselves on national television. While they won't be around to make the college football playoff the Thundering herd could find themselves in a great bowl game if they finish unblemished. There's no doubt that Marshall has the ability to score points and look good offensively, but will they be able to slow down Western Kentucky?

Between the two schools there's little doubt that Marshall has the better defense. While they haven't played the hardest schedule in the country, the defense for Marshall is surrendering just 16.5 points per game, which ranks sixth best in the country. If they can turn over the Hilltoppers or get stops, Marshall is going to win this one comfortably.

And with as good as Cato is, Marshall does a fantastic job at running the football, posting 288 yards per game, which is seventh best in the country. Devon Johnson has run for 1,573 yards and scored 16 touchdowns on the season while Steward Butler had 528 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 7.9 yards per carry this season. Marshall will move the football in this game, but the defense will win it for them.

Look for Western Kentucky to hang around in the opening half, but Marshall is just too powerful on the offensive end. And in having the better defense, that should make a major impact in this game as the Thundering Herd keep on marching.

Free Pick: Marshall 41, Western Kentucky 20

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  • Journalist living in West Michigan. Inaugural "Who's The Man" contest winner at Pregame.com.

Journalist living in West Michigan. Inaugural "Who's The Man" contest winner at Pregame.com.

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