MOBILE, Alabama (Ticker) -- Two of the nation's top quarterbacks go head-to-head when Marshall's Byron Leftwich battles Louisville's Dave Ragone in the GMAC Bowl.
The quarterbacks combined for 6,700 yards passing and 49 touchdowns this season and are expected to go high in next year's NFL draft. Some project the 6-4, 240-pound Leftwich as a top five pick.
Leftwich led the Thundering Herd (10-2) to their fifth Mid-American Conference title in six years, completing 32-of-42 passes for 404 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-45 victory over Toledo in the MAC championship game.
Leftwich became the MAC's all-time leading passer against Toledo, raising his career total to 11,654 and surpassing the previous mark of 11,299 set by Tim Lester from 1996-99.
Marshall's receiving duo of Josh Davis and Denero Marriott combined for 179 receptions, 2,021 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Thundering Herd, who are 4-2 all-time in postseason play, are seeking their fifth straight bowl win, but will be hard-pressed to top last season's heroics. Marshall rallied from a 30-point halftime deficit to stun East Carolina, 64-61, in double overtime in the GMAC Bowl.
Leftwich completed 41-of-70 passes for 576 yards and four touchdowns in the highest-scoring bowl game in NCAA history.
Louisville (7-5) was expected to contend for a third straight Conference USA title, but endured an up-and-down season. The highlight of the year was a 26-20 overtime victory over then fourth-ranked Florida State on September 26.
The Cardinals settled for a share of third place in Conference USA after suffering a 27-10 loss to Houston in their regular season finale on November 30. A victory would have given Louisville a share of the conference title with Texas Christian and Cincinnati.
Ragone passed for 2,687 yards and 23 TDs during the season. His favorite targets were Damien Dorsey and Joshua Tinch, who combined for 83 receptions for 1,159 yards and 11 TDs.
While Marshall and Louisville are facing each other for the first time in four years, they played 16 times from 1921-1998, with the Cardinals holding a 16-10 edge.