2017 Gildan New Mexico BowlBy Nicholas Volinchak
2017 Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Keeping up with our coverage of the 2017 bowl season, we will look at the 2017 Gildan New Mexico Bowl. This was a very fun game with a lot to talk about in general and from a draft perspective. The Marshall Thundering Herd was able to hold off the Colorado State Rams with a final score of 31-28.
As always, we want to look at five takeaways from each team. Let’s start with the winners.
5 takeaways from Marshall
Yeah, his team was bad an unmotivated in 2016. Really, there was no reason. It had been a few years since they saw a dramatic shift with Rakeem Cato, Tommy Shuler, Gator Hoskins and Devon Johnson leaving for other ventures. No, it was a team that just did not play.
That was not the story this year. Sure, they did not have a dominant record or anything, but this defense forced a funnel for Colorado State. Nick Stevens had no choice but to throw, because the running game could not do anything against an awesome Marshall front seven.
This team ranks up there with Boise State in terms of teams to watch as an early frontrunner for the Group of Five rep on New Year’s Day.
That running game
It was awesome to see that Marshall offense work. They really had it together. The biggest contributors in my opinion were both running backs. Keion Davis and Tyler King both put together 100 yard games, much due to both of them breaking off 68 yard+ runs.
Both of these backs should remain in the fold next year and really give this team some depth. Colorado State is no slouch, but they really got manhandled in this one. I am really high on this team moving into 2018.
Tyre Brady is really good
We are always going to take some looks at fantasy perspectives in our breakdowns. For me, Brady is a guy who might go later than he should because of perceived lack of upside. I would disagree because of how this team should look in 2018.
With Ryan Yurachek done, it looks like there should be more touchdown equity available. Brady is the cream of the crop on this team in terms of receivers. He should be able to crack double digit touchdowns and break 1,000 yards. Am I expecting James Washington numbers? No, but I think it is realistic than he could be a top -20 receiver this year.
Speaking of Ryan Yurachek
If this guy was three inches taller, he could very well be a consensus first round pick. This kid has hands that are out of this world, he blocks well and he knows how to score. 10 touchdowns this year and 9 in 2015 back that up. The fact that he is 6’3” is going to kill his draft stock.
It should, but it shouldn’t. Sure, you cannot draft him to be a tight end in this version of the NFL, but he is so good that he needs to be used. He will be a special teamer, but he can be an offensive weapon as well. Some creative team needs to take a flier on him, even as an undrafted free agent, because I am sure he will produce.
You’ll remember the name of… Kaare Vedvik
Alright, so he is not Goldust, but who is? Vedvik is a guy who registered a 92 yard punt earlier this year as well as allegedly being able to kick a 70 yard field goal. He has only kicked two years in college. I do not know of his eligibility, but I would imagine he would have to turn some heads.
I had to drop him here because of the fact that it is not often that a kicker can do the things he can, and it merits mention.
5 takeaways from Colorado State
Nick Stevens moving on up
Well, at least he wants to. As of this writing, he is at the East-West Shrine Game. We will have coverage on that later this week. The reports on him early on are not positive. Some of that might be on receivers, but some is not.
In watching this game, I saw a guy who did deal with some receiver drops, but he also missed receivers in important situations. He legitimately had two touchdowns to Michael Gallup reversed. I would argue that both times, Stevens put the ball in a bad place for his receiver. He has some plus points, but those are really bad signs when ball placement is not good.
Michael Gallup going with him
There has been some buzz on Gallup, who broke the record at CSU for catches in a season. He was compared to Rashad “Hollywood” Higgins his entire time there. Some people think he is better, but that remains to be seen.
He had two easy catches that he dropped. These were not even close to being passes defended. Just drops. He also had two touchdowns overturned. Sure, you look at those negatives, and then you see him go up over a defender and make a one-handed catch with the game on the line. That type of big play ability when your team needs you the most does give me hope for his future in the NFL.
The defense was not all bad
There were two players I really liked when watching this game. The first was Jordan Fogal. He missed 2 years due to injury (and he did get hurt again in this one), but was granted a 6th year of eligibility for 2018. He played a great game, including an interception. I liked what I saw from the Utah transfer and I think he can make an impact next year.
The other was Josh Watson. He was suspended for the first half due to a targeting penalty in the second half of the last game of the year. He made an immediate impact when he came in the second half, which largely explains the decline in play we saw offensively from Marshall. He came close to double digit tackles in most games this year, including 17 against Air Force. He should be back next year and makes a player to watch.
Olabasi Johnson looked like the man
It is somewhat unfortunate, at least at this writing, that Johnson will not have a seasoned quarterback in 2018. He looked very, very good in this game, routinely making difficult catches and moving the ball afterward.
Literally all the other top receivers around him will be gone in 2018, so the opportunity will be there. It is tough to say how he will be able to cash in with a new quarterback, but I like what I saw from him in this game.
It’s Izzy Time
Often times, we have seen a reliance on running backs and tight ends when a new quarterback comes into the system. With Dalyn Dawkins moving on, we should see a much larger role for Matthews.
The talent is there, to be sure, and he has a solid enough line to work with. I am not wild from a fantasy perspective, but from a football perspective, he should be monitored.