Date/Start Time: Friday, October 20th, 6pm
Location: Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN
TV: ESPN 2
Stream: Watch ESPN
Records: Marshall 5-1, Middle Tennessee 3-4
Series History: Marshall leads the series 4-2, Home team has won every game in this series.
Betting line: Marshall -2.5, O/U 49
Without a doubt, this Marshall defense is what is driving this team to success. Marshall boasts the best scoring defense in Conference USA and have only allowed six total points in both of their conference games so far.
This week’s game against Middle Tennessee will be their biggest test so far as they have yet to defend playmakers that are as talented as MTSU’s on the outside. But, with Brent Stockstill still out for MTSU, expect this Marshall defense to feast in the pass rush and get to John Urzua a lot and force mistakes.
As for the Marshall offense, quarterback Chase Litton has shown improvement from last year and has continued to play better week by week this season. He has gotten much better with ball security and has found his favorite targets that he can trust to make plays for him like Trye Brady and Ryan Yuracheck. This week could be more of the same for the Thundering Herd against an inconsistent Middle Tennessee defense.
Middle Tennessee Outlook
Middle Tennessee’s inconsistency was on full display once again this past week in Birmingham. After a strong opening drive that lead to a touchdown, the Blue Raider offense couldn’t finish another drive, leading to field goals and a loss.
It was hard to watch as Middle Tennessee quarterback John Urzua threw away a key scoring situation with an interception in the second quarter and then again on a potential game winning drive late in the fourth quarter.
If Middle wants to have any chance against this Marshall defense, that cannot happen at all. Urzua has to eliminate the mistakes much like he did against FIU two weeks ago.
The second key on offense for Middle Tennessee to even have a shot in this one is to establish the run game and accumulate some time of possession. Marshall has success when they possess the ball in huge chunks, so this Middle offense has to slow it down and give their defense a break.
As for the defense, pressure on the quarterback will be key in this one. The Marshall offensive line has protected Chase Litton well and allowed him to make good decisions, so the Blue Raiders have to disrupt that or else it will be more of the same for Middle.
When these two teams play in Murfreesboro, weird things happen and I fully expect nothing to change this year. There is definitely no love lost between these two teams, which always makes the lead up to these games so much fun. That being said, Marshall’s defense is just too good and Middle’s offense is just struggling too much for an upset in this one.
Marshall 31 Middle Tennessee 17