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College Football
Preview
Connecticut vs Marshall
When: 11:00 AM ET, Saturday, December 26, 2015
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida



ST. PETERSBURG BOWL STORYLINES

1. Sitting at 5-5 with games against Houston and Temple remaining, it appeared Connecticut was destined to miss the postseason for the fifth straight year. The Huskies, however, handed the Cougars their only loss of the season to become bowl eligible and face Marshall in the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Bowl on Dec. 26. It is UConn's first postseason appearance since meeting Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl in 2010 while the Thundering Herd are looking for their third bowl victory in as many seasons.

2. The Huskies, who are 21-39 overall since their showcase in the Fiesta Bowl, shocked the No. 16 Cougars 20-17 in their penultimate regular-season contest. UConn will have Bryant Shirreffs back under center after he suffered a severe concussion in that game. Shirreffs admitted that he lost consciousness after receiving a blow to the helmet. “It was a pretty big hit, it is probably the hardest hit I’ve taken,” the sophomore told reporters

3. Marshall won the Boca Raton Bowl last season and has beaten just one team, Southern Mississippi, which earned a bowl berth this year. The game, which will be played at Tropicana Field - the baseball home of the Tampa Bay Rays, shapes up to be a low-scoring affair as the Thundering Herd finished the season ranked 14th in scoring defense at 18.4 points per game while the Huskies were 17th at 19.8. Marshall is 9-3 in bowl appearances all-time and has won nine of its last 10 appearances but is unlikely to have star running back Devon Johnson, who missed the final five games of the season with a back injury.

TV: 11 a.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Marshall -4

ABOUT CONNECTICUT (6-6, 4-4 American Athletic Conference): UConn's offense is paced by Arkeel Newsome, who ranks 18th in the nation in all-purpose yards (1,621) while Shirreffs threw for 1,992 yards while completing 60.3 percent of his passes, the school's best numbers since Dan Orlovsky in 2004. The Huskies lost five of six games during a dreadful stretch in the middle of their schedule and are 3-2 all time in bowl games. UConn placed five players on the all-conference team led by Jamar Summers, who was tied for third in the nation with seven interceptions and was its only first-team choice.

ABOUT MARSHALL (9-3, 6-2 Conference USA): Marshall won seven straight games but dropped two of its final three contests to fall into a tie for second place in the C-USA East Division. Freshman Chase Litton took over the starting job at quarterback in the third week of the season, won his first seven starts and finished the season with 2,387 yards passing with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Herd has a strong special teams unit paced by punter Tyler Williams averaging 44.3 yards and DeAndre Reaves, who had 47 receptions and is a major threat in the return game.



PREDICTION: Connecticut 24, Marshall 21
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Connecticut 6-6 L1 17.8 19.8 4-2 2-4 5-4 0-0 4-4
Marshall 9-3 L1 32.6 18.4 6-0 3-3 1-0 1-1 6-2
Last Meeting
Connecticut Marshall
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Connecticut N/A
Marshall N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Connecticut N/A
Marshall N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Connecticut N/A
Marshall N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Connecticut N/A
Marshall N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Connecticut B. Shirreffs 60.3 1992 9 7
Marshall C. Litton 59.4 2390 22 7
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Connecticut A. Newsome 173 756 4.4 6
Marshall D. Johnson 84 555 6.6 5
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Connecticut N. Thomas 54 719 13.3 3
Marshall D. Allen 56 696 12.4 5
Touchdowns Player TD
Connecticut A. Newsome 8
Marshall R. Yurachek 8
Quickchart Matchup
Connecticut Connecticut Off vs  Marshall Marshall Def
Connecticut 318.4 yards
Marshall 373.1 yards
Connecticut 3.4 yards/rush
Marshall 4 yards/rush
Connecticut 7.2 yards/attempt
Marshall 5.6 yards/attempt
Marshall Marshall Off vs  Connecticut Connecticut Def
Marshall 401.3 yards
Connecticut 352.2 yards
Marshall 4.5 yards/rush
Connecticut 4.5 yards/rush
Marshall 6.4 yards/attempt
Connecticut 6.1 yards/attempt