Marshall vs. No. Illinois: Time, Channel & Prediction

Marshall running back Devon Johnson averages 8.6 yards per carry. (Getty)

Marshall running back Devon Johnson averages 8.6 yards per carry. (Getty)

The Basics


Marshall (12-1) vs. Northern Illinois (11-2), Boca Raton Bowl


Tuesday, Dec. 23, 6 p.m. Eastern on ESPN


FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Florida


OFF. Line provided by

All-Time Series:

Northern Illinois leads 4-3

Last Year’s Boca Raton Bowl:

Inaugural game

Heavy’s Pick

If you haven’t seen Marshall yet this season, tune in. That is, of course, you’re a fan of defensive battles and games being won in the trenches. If that’s the case, go get some last-minute Christmas shopping done. Marshall scores 45 points per game and has been known to put up Thundering Herd basketball team-like scores. Northern Illinois is not scared to put the ball in the end zone, either – the Huskies have averaged 35 ppg in their 7-game winning streak.

Marshall QB Rakeem Cato has thrown for 37 touchdowns and if he gets one against NIU, it will tie an NCAA record (all divisions) with 46-straight games with a TD pass (Division II Central Washington’s Mike Reilly has 46). Cato already has the FBS record. It’s not all passing as Devon Johnson has rushed for 1,636 yards and 16 touchdowns despite missing most of the past 2 games with a knee injury. He’s had time to rest, but it’s unclear how well he feels.

Northern Illinois’ Drew Hare is a dual-threat QB, passing for 2,097 yards and 17 touchdowns and adding another 850 and 8 with his legs. And the Huskies can pound it on the ground, something the Thundering Herd has been vulnerable to the past few games.

While were probably not going to see this type of box score, this one has potential shootout written all over it. The Huskies would like to slow it down and control the time of possession, but Cato and Co. won’t let that happen.

Marshall 41, Northern Illinois 35