In collaboration with M!KEDROPSPORTS

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl

Marshall Thundering Herd (8-4) vs South Florida Bulls (7-5)

Date/Time: Thursday December 20 at 8:00 pm ET

Location: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida

Bowl history

Originated: 2008 (known as Gasparilla since 2017)

Previous bowl names: St Petersburg Bowl, Beef O’Brady’s Bowl

History of the conferences: This is the 8th time at Conference USA team will appear in the 11 year history – they are 4-4; AAC is 1-2 

Last year’s result: Temple beat FIU 28-3

Marshall bowl history

For teams with more than 4 bowl games appearances, Marshall has the best record at 11-3 and are winners of their last 6 bowl games. The last loss came in 2004 in the Fort Worth Bowl, to Cincinnati.

While this is Marshall’s first official Gasparilla Bowl appearance, this is their third overall St. Petersburg Bowl game experience – they beat FIU in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl in 2011 and beat UConn in the St. Petersburg Bowl in 2015.

They won their bowl game last year, beating Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl

USF bowl history

USF will appear in a bowl game for the 4th straight year as well as the 10th time in program history. The Bulls first joined FBS in 2003 as an Independent, and in 2005, their first official year in C-USA, they became bowl eligible – they lost the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

The Bulls are 6-3 all-time in bowl games, winning the Birmingham Bowl last year, over Texas Tech and they have won 5 of their last 6 bowl games. The one loss came in 2015 which was Willie Taggart’s only bowl season at USF. They then went on to lose the Miami Beach Bowl to Western Kentucky.

Head coach Charlie Strong is 4-3 in his career in bowl games (0-1 at Florida as interim in 2004, 2-2 at Louisville, 0-1 at Texas, 1-0 at USF).

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Series history

The Gasparilla Bowl will be the first all-time meeting between these schools.

Game Notes

Players to watch 

Marshall: Isaiah Green, QB 

USF: Jordan Cronkrite, RB

Marshall

Marshall finished the year 0-2 in ACC play, losing to NC State and Virginia Tech. 2018 is the 5th time in 6 years the Herd won 8 (or more) games. Their offense isn’t that high-powered and they average just 27 ppg but only allow 22 ppg. 

USF

After opening 7-0, USF finished the season 7-5, a disappointing second season for coach Charlie Strong. The Bulls unraveled after injuries started to pile up, especially as it relates to QB Blake Barnett. The 7 wins are their fewest since winning just 4 in 2014.

Final Analysis

Certainly, this game is meaningful to both teams. For USF, they need to re-establish themselves as a threat in the AAC and finishing Charlie Strong’s second season on a six game losing streak would be very bad, especially given what’s happening with their in-state conference rival. For Marshall, it’s about showing they belong. The AAC is considered by most to be the class of the “Group of 5” conferences, so for Marshall, representing C-USA and being able to beat an AAC team would be good for momentum moving forward. 

For more college football talk, you can follow me at M!KEDROPSPORTS, on twitter @msschneid or instagram @mikedropsports

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