I'm not going to waste time explaining how bad Savannah State is after every paragraph. Just understand that they are not good. Take it for what it is and move on. Here is what you need to know from week one in 2014 Middle Tennessee State football
This week's True Blue Review Game Ball goes to the fans who stuck it out for a couple of quarters in the pouring rain and an extra pigskin goes to the 100 or so people who stayed for the whole game. No one can call you FAIRWEATHER fans.
Game Changing Play:
The play that turned this game into MT's favor was the kickoff. As soon as the ball lifted into the air you could tell it wasn't going to be Savannah State's day.
Now more notes from Saturday:
We have a quarterback:
What is that old saying?
If you have three quarterbacks, you don't even have one.
That was the biggest fear I had as the season drew close and Rick Stockstill hadn't yet decided on who would be taking a majority of the snaps in 2014. Even though it might have taken some time, it appears he made the right choice.
Austin Grammer took to the field at Floyd Stadium for his first ever start at the collegiate level and he didn't look like a first-time starter.
"I thought Austin did a nice job. He didn't force a lot of throws. He went to the right guy a lot of the time, he scrambled out a couple times and made some plays with his feet" Said Stockstill.
The sophomore from Tuscaloosa completed his first pass to highly touted JUCO transfer, Ed'Marques Batties. A few plays later, he completed his second pass to Devin Clarke getting the Blue Raiders deep into Tiger territory before running back, Shane Tucker, carried it in from the 13.
Grammer didn't throw an incomplete pass until the third drive and he connected with several receivers in traffic or on the move. He finished 15 of 17 with 250 yards through the air, 26 yards on the ground and one passing touchdown.
He did all of that during what was easily the most consistent and heavy rain storm I have ever seen at a game I attended. The precipitation was an issue, causing the ball to slip out of players hands more than once. Which makes this pass even more impressive.
Best O-line in the Nation!!!!
A humble Austin Grammer was not going to take all of the glory for his fantastic start. He praised the O-line and even said to reporters he had told fellow teammate and right guard, Josh Chester, "I honestly believe we have the best O-line in the nation."
They'll get a chance to prove how good they are when they go head-to-head with Minnesota's 6'4" 293 pound, Scott Epke and the Golden Gophers 6'5" 290 pound, defensive tackle, redshirt senior Cameron Botticelli.
Raider Rushers: How Do Ya Stop 'Em?
There is another old saying,
"Don't be on the tracks when the train is coming through."
The Tigers were not just on the tracks. Like a damsel in distress, they were tied down to it,(probably because their athletic department needs money) as the train of Blue Raider running backs plowed viciously over them for 228 yards, scored six touchdowns and Tebowed.
While satire is always fun, the honest truth is: the backfield looked just like we would expect it would look against an FCS team in bad weather.
No Middle Tennessee running back really stood out, other than Jeremiah Bryson getting the glory for his two touchdowns in the red zone.
The longest run of the day was a 21 yard carry from Reggie Whatley, who led all rushers with 66 total yards. But of course, it's not a bad thing to have a handful of backs getting a little bit of yardage, especially in a game like this. (I know, I said I wouldn't do that.)
The Defense was impenetrable
Savannah State had just four first downs in the first half, only got in the red zone twice the whole game and didn't change the numbers on their side of the scoreboard until Middle put in their back-ups-back-ups-back-ups. Which, if I read the depth chart correctly, consisted of 6 walk-ons, 2 practice players, an usher and that one guy from Section 215 row C.
If this game is any indication of what the starting defense is capable of, the Blue Raiders may make it tough for even WKU to score.
But it isn't.
It was a game where Middle Tennessee was suppose to blow out a team who was given a check to get blown out. That was the plan and that is what happened.
Now the attention turns to a much more serious opponent.
The Golden Gophers didn't look all that good in their FCS game but their opponent was one win way from a championship.
The line opened at -17 Minnesota. Which at first glance may seem a little high but consider if MT gets down by a couple scores and in trying to comeback, lose by three touchdowns.
It's possible that could happen but their are reasons to be hopeful. We'll talk about those in our full preview coming soon.