Middle Tennessee State University
The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders will face their biggest test so far this year, Saturday, in Atlanta. MTSU will enter Saturday’s game against the Yellow Jackets fresh off of a bye week with a 2-1 record. The Blue Raiders are on a two-game win streak with victories over Memphis and in-conference opponent Florida Atlantic.
MTSU’s offense is averaging 33.3 points per game and featuring a balanced offensive scheme, with 226 yards through the air and 194.7 yards on the ground per game. Quarterback Logan Kilgore is the leader of the offense, with a QB rating of 111.4. Kilgore has thrown for 671 yards this season, completing 69.4 percent of his passes while only throwing one interception. Exactly 300 of those yards have gone to wide receiver Anthony Amos, a fifth-year senior who currently ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference in total yards receiving and third in yards per catch. Running backs Drayton Calhoun and Jordan Parker anchor the offense, averaging 5.5 and 5.3 yards per carry respectively.
Historically, things have not gone MTSU’s way in head-to-head matchups with Tech. The series record stands at 2-0 in favor of the Jackets, with both wins happening in the past two years.
MTSU will need to play tough on defense and take care of the ball to be able to contend with the Jackets. The Blue Raiders are allowing 156 yards rushing per game and have lost all five of their fumbles this season. On offense, the Blue Raiders will look to Amos as their primary receiver and offensive weapon, as the Jackets’ pass defense is allowing 240 yards per game compared to their stingy rush defense, which is allowing only 128 yards per game.
Redshirt senior quarterback Tevin Washington will be lining up under center this Saturday for his 21st straight start for the Jackets. Washington currently leads the team in total touchdowns with seven on the ground and three through the air.
Sophomore wide receiver Jeff Greene is the current leading receiver, with six receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown courtesy of redshirt freshman quarterback Vad Lee. The Jackets have done an excellent job passing to the A-backs this season as well. The Tech defense has proven itself formidable this season, particularly against the run, allowing only 128 yards per game, but had trouble stopping Miami quarterback Stephen Morris through the air last week. Junior cornerback Louis Young sustained an injury to his right arm, and his status for Saturday’s game is unknown.
Going into Saturday, Tech finds itself in a familiar position atop the national leaderboard for rushing offense, averaging over 352 yards per game. The Jackets also rank No. 12 in the nation in total offense. However, the Jackets were held to just 287 yards on the ground against Miami. Tech’s defense also allowed over 600 yards of offense to the Hurricanes last week. In order for Tech to control this game, it will need to refocus on defense and buckle down in the fourth quarter.