12/17/2001 12:00AM

Look for Marshall in a scorefest


If you like high-scoring games, Wednesday's GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., isn't to be missed. It might not approach Hawaii's 72-45 win over BYU or even Marshall's 41-36 loss to Toledo in the MAC title game, but it should be one of the highest-scoring games of the bowl season.


Marshall (+1) vs. E. Carolina

This is a game of contrasting styles, much like Marshall's game against Toledo.

East Carolina has the edge in the running game with a more physical offensive line and tailback Leonard Henry (sixth in the nation with 1,432 yards) and should be able to move the ball on Marshall, which is 106th in the nation against the run. Meanwhile, Marshall is more likely to air it out with QB Byron Leftwich (4,224 yards) against a Pirates defense that is 101st nationally against the pass.

Marshall gains the edge based on consistent play, with its only two losses coming to Florida in the season opener and to Toledo in the MAC title game. East Carolina backed into this game with a 6-5 record and back-to-back losses to Louisville and Southern Mississippi to close the season.

In addition, Marshall is 4-0 against the spread in bowl games (3-1 straight up) since joining Division I-A and it obviously takes these games seriously.

PLAY: Marshall for 11 units.

Starting bankroll: 1,000 units.

Bankroll entering bowl games: 963 units.