Last week, I predicted a high-scoring affair and an Iowa State win. I got neither, as Texas held on for a 17-7 win. I’ll try to not screw it up this time around.
This week, we’ve got 69th-ranked Florida International visiting #95 Middle Tennessee State.
FIU is sitting at a respectable 3-1, and they are 2-0 in Conference USA, which is good for first. After getting their doors blown off by UCF, the Golden Panthers have won some tight contests. Each of their wins has been by 7 points or less. Most recently, they came all the way back to beat Charlotte 30-29, after their win probability dropped to as low as 6 percent. Quarterback Alex McGough led the way with 3 total touchdowns.
The Golden Panthers put up around 386 yards per game, good for 85th in the country. While quarterback play is always important, I wouldn’t blindly put all of the offense on McGough’s shoulders. Thomas Owens and Julian Williams both have 16 catches, for 300 and 249 yards respectively. While Alex Gardner has gotten most of the carries, he doesn’t have significantly more yards than fellow backs Napoleon Phillips and Shawndarrius Phillips.
Middle Tennessee State’s big claim to fame is on the basketball court, where they took down #2 seed Michigan State a couple of years back. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help them much here. The Blue Raiders are 2-3, and 0-1 in Conference USA.
Their quarterback is John Urzua, who has filled in somewhat admirably for starting quarterback and program great, Brent Stockstill. Stockstill has been hurt for three games this year, but even when he’s healthy, turnovers have been a problem, as they have 8 picks from the quarterback position this year.
Unfortunately for them, they’re not much of a rushing threat, either. They average 100 rushing yards a game, led by Brad Anderson. MTSU’s claim to fame is their defense, which is 47th overall in the country. I’d say they’re still poised for a good week, as FIU only averages about 19 points per game.
This is going to be sloppy. FIU has 7 turnovers so far this season in 4 games. Middle Tennessee State has lost 12 turnovers in 5 games. For that reason, I’m going Florida International. They have a nose for winning close games, and while they could play cleaner football and will have a tougher time going against the Blue Raider D, I don’t think MTSU can stop tripping over themselves offensively.
You can stream this game on ESPN3 this Saturday at 3 pm. If you’ve never been to Murfreesboro and want to make a weekend out of it, you can get tickets for $11.
Cover photo from Football Ballparks.
GIFs from Google Plus