He is tied with Bob Pruett — that headed the Herd from 1997-2004 — for the most bowl victories (five) with a Marshall head coach. The Herd (8-4, 6-2 Conference USA) have experienced an up-and-down campaign with just two non-conference losses courtesy of ACC competitions NC State and Virginia Tech and their two C-USA beats coming with a total of 12 points to Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss.. The loss to the Hokies — which was a makeup game scheduled for Dec. 1 after the two groups had September dates canceled due to Hurricane Florence — snapped a three-game winning series and ended any chance of Marshall submitting its first 10-win season since tallying three directly from 2013-15.
Marshall has made two appearances in this game (2011, when it was the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl;’14, St. Petersburg Bowl), winning both against FIU and UConn, respectively. South Florida, meanwhile, has played with in this bowl winning the inaugural game 41-14 from Memphis at 2008. Two Group of 5 Apps will Fulfill for the first time in sunny Tampa when the Marshall Thundering Herd take about the South Florida Bulls at the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
The game is now being played in the Bulls’ house of Raymond James Stadium — moving over from Tropicana Field in nearby St. Petersburg. In his second season in Tampa, Charlie Strong offers an chance to direct the Bulls (7-5, 3-5 American) to their fourth consecutive winning campaign, South Florida is looking for its third consecutive bowl victory. Most importantly, Strong has an opportunity to shut 2018 to a positive note after so many tough finishes at the end of the regular season. South Florida took off at the first eight months of the season, beginning 7-0 and scoring greater than 35 points per game in that interval. The Bulls then hit a serious rough spot, losing five in a row and averaging just 20.2 points per match.
Kickoff: Thursday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)