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MTSU - Game Preview

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MTSU - Game Preview


This is from the USA Today - Part of the SBC Preview

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
INSIDE SLANT

Florida Atlantic started Middle Tennessee on a ownward spiral last year when the visiting Owls threw a 62-yard TD pass on the last play of the game to defeat the Blue Raiders 20-19. This year, FAU has put a damper on the programs of Hawaii and three-time Sun Belt champion North Texas with road upsets. MTSU will get the opportunity this week to exact its revenge on the Owls, who will join the Sun Belt next year, when the teams play in Murfreesboro. However, revenge isn't something the Blue Raiders seem obsessed with. "Last year was last year and we've turned the page," said sophomore quarterback Clint Marks. "We're a new team and we're not thinking about last year. We're just preparing for a very good team."

The Blue Raiders (1-0) got their season off to a good start last week by surprising Akron 31-24 on the road.
However, winning their home opener will obviously be a difficult task.

"We said it a year ago that they were a good football team and we've heard about it for a year," said MTSU coach Andy McCollum. "What they've done on the road shows what kind of football team they have.
"I feel like we have a good football team and we showed a lot (at Akron). This team has overcome a lot of adversity and negativity the last year and it was good to see them get it done on the road."
Getting it done at home this week is vital, but it will hardly be an easy task against FAU.

NOTES, QUOTES
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The Blue Raider passing game was incredible at Akron as quarterbacks Josh Harris and Clint Marks combined to complete 33-of-41 passes for 339 yards. The running game stalled, but a young offensive line did an excellent job pass protecting and getting tailback Eugene Gross into the end zone on goal-line situations.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Blue Raiders figured to have a tough time containing Akron quarterback Charlie Frye in their opener ? and they did, allowing almost 400 yards passing. However, the run defense was solid and the defensive line was able to generate a good pass rush in key situations. The defense also forced three turnovers, something it didn't do very often a year ago.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've got two good quarterbacks and it's a great situation to have." ? MTSU coach Andy McCollum, referring to junior QB Josh Harris completing 10-of-11 passes and sophomore Clint Marks completing 23-of-30 at Akron last week.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Middle Tennessee vs. Florida Atlantic, Sept. 18 ? The Blue Raiders have stewed on this one for a year. In the season opener last year, FAU completed a 62-yard TD pass on the last play of the game to win 20-19. This is a huge home opener because a large crowd is expected. However, it won't be easy as FAU is coming off back-to-back road wins at Hawaii and North Texas.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR Kerry Wright ? The all-conference receiver picked up where he left off last season by catching nine passes for 93 yards in the Blue Raiders' season opener at Akron last week. He also had a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown ? the first of his career.
DL Thomas Johnson ? The senior had six tackles and two keys sacks against Akron. His strength and speed make him difficult to handle for opposing linemen.

ROSTER REPORT: It looks like MTSU will go with a two-quarterback system with junior Josh Harris and sophomore Clint Marks. … Senior LB Alvin Fite (ankle) is questionable for this week's game against Florida Atlantic. … Defensive linemen Marcus Gates and Quinton Staton have moved to the offense started at left guard and center, respectively. Starting right guard Germayle Franklin has moved to right tackle and senior Joe Evilsizer will start at right guard. … Junior WR Lee Baker also has practiced at tailback and will play a more significant role in the offense. … Sophomore RB Kevin Davis, who suffered a broken femur week six of last year, will not play this season. … WR Pierre Ingram, who missed most of last season with a broken foot, is out with a hamstring injury. … Starting C Kyle Ringley is doubtful this week because of a high ankle sprain. … Middle Tennessee track stars Lennie Yarbrough and Sean Waller have joined the team, with Yarbrough earning a No. 2 spot at receiver and Waller a No. 3 spot at defensive back.

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MTSU - Game Preview

The Sports Network - Preview

DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 18th, 3:00 p.m. (et).

FACTS & STATS: Site: Floyd Stadium (30,788) – Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: FAU 0-0, MTSU 0-0. Away Record: FAU 2-0, MTSU 1-0. Neutral Record: FAU 0-0, MTSU 0-0. Conference Record: FAU 0-0, MTSU 0-0. Series Record: Florida Atlantic leads, 1-0.

GAME NOTES: The Florida Atlantic Owls try to knock off their second straight Sun Belt Conference opponent this Saturday, when they travel to Murfreesboro to do battle with the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders from Floyd Stadium. The Owls, who will be joining the Sun Belt in 2005, knocked off three-time SBC champion North Texas, 20-13, last week for their second straight win. FAU, which opened the season with a stunning 35-28 (OT) victory at Hawaii, is playing its inaugural season of Division I-A football. The program began in 2001 and has grown by leaps and bounds since. Last season, FAU finished an impressive 11-3 at Division I-AA, giving it hope of success on the next level. As for MTSU, its opened the 2004 campaign on a winning note, posting a 31-24 triumph over Akron last week. As a result, the Blue Raiders are gunning for their first 2-0 start since going 5-0 to begin the 2001 season. MTSU has had a great deal of success in home openers over the last 25 years, going 19-6 over that span. However, the Blue Raiders have never defeated FAU, losing the only meeting between the two schools, 20-19, last season.

Doug Parker fell in from a yard out with 29 seconds left in the game, giving the Owls a 20-13 victory over North Texas last Saturday. It was the second straight week FAU got the winning points on its last offensive play, as it edged out Hawaii 35-28 (OT) in the opener. Parker finished the contest with 126 rushing yards and two scores on 27 carries. He now has three TDs and 212 rushing yards through the first two games. Quarterback Jared Allen, who threw for 291 yards and two scores against Hawaii, put together another solid game against the Mean Green, passing for 245 yards behind 18 completions. His primary target was Anthony Hill-Crissinger, who pulled down four balls for 71 yards. Hill-Crissinger put together one of the most productive games in FAU history in the opener against Hawaii with 15 catches that went for 183 yards and two scores. He is among the nation's leaders in receptions this season with 19. Through the first two games, the FAU offense has looked impressive in averaging 289.0 ypg through the air and another 162.0 ypg on the ground.

Defensively, FAU put forth a solid effort against a strong North Texas rushing attack, allowing just 116 yards on 36 attempts. The unit also held the Mean Green to just 165 passing yards, while allowing only 3-of-14 third downs to be converted. However, the defense failed to record a sack or post a turnover for the second straight week. Jerrell Terry led the unit against UNT with eight tackles and a PBU. Chris Laskowski, who leads the team with 13 tackles this season, made five stops against North Texas. Overall, the Owls have been outstanding thus far in holding opponents to just 71.5 rushing ypg and 233.5 passing ypg. However, the unit has had trouble getting to the quarterback and creating turnovers and if they continue to struggle in those areas, it could be the team's undoing.

The Blue Raiders scored 10 points with under five minutes remaining in the contest, as they came from behind for a 31-24 victory over Akron. Eugene Gross, who scored the game-winning touchdown with just over two minutes left, finished with 37 rushing yards and three scores on just 12 attempts. Clint Marks and Josh Harris both saw time under center, combining to go 33-of-41 for 339 yards and two interceptions. Both are slated to split time this Saturday against FAU. Benefiting from the passing game was Chris Henry and Kerry Wright. Henry grabbed a career-best 10 balls for 80 yards, while Wright pulled down nine passes for 93 yards. Wright also made an impact on special teams, as he returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown. While many things went right for MTSU last weekend, the fact that it turned the ball over four times is certainly a negative, and an area the club must work on if it hopes to defeat a solid squad in Florida Atlantic.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Blue Raiders had their share of trouble against Akron, surrendering 502 total yards. The defense did a poor job against the pass, allowing 399 yards, but made up for it by holding the Zips to just 103 rushing yards on 34 carries. The unit did manage three turnovers and four sacks, but the 27 first down they yielded is clearly a negative. Jeff Littlejohn paced the Blue Raiders with eight tackles, including four solo efforts. Danny Tolbert added seven stops and an interception, while Thomas Johnson came up with six tackles and a team-best two sacks. Overall, the MTSU defense appeared shaky in its season-opener, but there is still time for a turnaround.

FAU has been nothing but impressive in its first two games, and this Saturday's contest is not out of reach. If the Owls can continue to play solid on both sides of the ball and generate some turnovers they should be able to pull out another road win.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida Atlantic 35, MTSU 28





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MTSU - Game Preview

My take on the game:

This could very well be a low scoring affair, especially if Ivan dumps a bunch of rain Thurs, Fri & Sat.

Both team have QB's with the ability to move the ball.

This could very well come to special team & turnovers.
I look for us to have a couple take-aways in this game and could prove to be the difference.

Predictions: FAU 23 MTSU 16
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MTSU - Game Preview

This should be a good matchup. With the poor weather conditions, FAU's improved running game will have a chance to shine.

If we think back to year one at Bethune-Cookman, we had a huge game in the rain. Hopefully this one will turn out the same.

You can run kitties, but you can't hide!!!
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MTSU - Game Preview

Any word on tailgating for the game, location, time, etc? Information would be appreciated.

You can run kitties, but you can't hide!!!
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MTSU - Game Preview

FAU is do for a blowout…. The last two have been close. Were gonna blow these guys out by 23. We contained the best rushing team in the country, we beat the leading passer in the country……. Now were gonna start picking on the little guys for the rest of the season…..

FAU 36 mtsu 13
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MTSU - Game Preview

Thats optamistic.. It would be awsome if your right. That would get some of use pumped for the first home game. To take on illinois state with a 3-0 record would be awsome and make 4-0 very possable!
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MTSU - Game Preview

Tailgating info:

http://goblueraiders.com/?go=story&doc=2323

Follow this link. There will be plenty of entertainment in the Walnut Grove area, including live music, inflatables, etc. I will have two tents set up in that area.

Congrats on your win over Hawaii and North Texas. I've enjoyed reading the board, and I wish you guys luck in the Sun Belt. This game is not gonna be a blowout, however. We've been underrated just about as many times as you have… We'll find out in about 24 hours, I guess…
rr
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