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Gasparilla Bowl 2019: UCF vs. Marshall TV Schedule, Time and Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 22, 2019

Central Florida quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) celebrates after scoring against Houston  during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. (Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.)
Willie J. Allen Jr./Associated Press

After two seasons in the New Year's Six, the UCF Knights will finish their 2019 campaign before Christmas Day in the Gasparilla Bowl.

The nine-win side is a heavy favorite against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Raymond James Stadium. 

UCF possesses one of the most dynamic passing attacks in the FBS that should put the Conference USA squad under pressure from the start. 

Although Marshall is considered the underdog, it enters Tampa, Florida, with six wins in its last seven games and is the reigning champion of the Gasparilla Bowl. 

               

Gasparilla Bowl Information

Date: Monday, December 23

Start Time: 2:30 p.m. ET 

TV: ESPN 

Odds (via Caesars): UCF (-16); Over/Under: 61.5

            

Preview

Willie J. Allen Jr./Associated Press

UCF and Marshall will try to win with contrasting offensive styles. 

Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel ranks in the top 20 in the FBS in passing yards and aerial touchdowns, and he has been clean in the pocket in his team's nine victories. All seven of the freshman's interceptions occurred in three defeats, and he has been sacked either once or zero times in four of the last five contests. 

His top three wide receivers all have over 40 receptions, 500 yards and five touchdowns. 

Josh Heupel's side is one of eight in the FBS to average over 40 points per game, and it has recorded fewer than 30 on just one occasion. Marshall could struggle with containing the UCF passing attack, as it allows 227.8 passing yards per game. 

The Thundering Herd offense could also have trouble keeping up with the AAC side since it averages 15 fewer points per contest. The Conference USA program does the majority of its work on the ground, with running back Brenden Knox leading the charge with 1,284 rushing yards and 11 scores. 

Twenty of Marshall's 35 touchdowns have come through the run, and it could achieve some success versus a UCF defense that concedes 144.9 rushing yards per contest. 

The Knights should have an easier time silencing the pass, as it allows 199.9 passing yards per contest and Marshall quarterback Isaiah Green has 176 passing yards in the previous two games. 

Even if both programs thrive through their respective strengths, UCF has the advantage because of how quick it can maneuver down the field. 

Given UCF's quick-strike ability and Marshall's ground success, the over of 61.5 has a good chance of hitting. 

If you go by Gasparilla Bowl trends, the under is more likely to hit, as the last 60-point contest in the event occurred in 2014, when UCF lost to the NC State Wolfpack. 

                  

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.