Start time: Saturday, September 9th at 2:30 pm Central
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
TV: ACC NETWORK EXTRA
Stream: Watch ESPN
Series History: This will be the first ever matchup between the Orange and the Blue Raiders in football.
Betting line: MTSU +10, O/U 75
After a disappointing first game of the season, the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee are looking to get on track against Syracuse in the most difficult stretch of their season. This past week’s game showed a lot of flaws that the Raiders have to address if they even want to contend for a conference title.
Last week’s offensive performance was the worst I had seen from the Raiders in a long time and cannot happen again any time soon. Blue Raider fans knew the offensive line would be a problem, but I don’t think anyone expected what we saw last week. That being said, I think the offense takes a big step forward behind the leadership of Brent Stockstill after the embarrassment from last week and gets clicking again somewhat back to what Blue Raider fans have grown to expect.
The defense had a very rough start last week too but showed improvement over the course of the game. For the first time in a long time, the Raiders were able to defend the run effectively, holding Vandy to under 100 yards rushing. On the flip side though, Middle continued to struggle in coverage, getting beat over the top and underneath. Scott Shafer has to figure out that secondary sooner rather than later.
As for Syracuse, they are very strong on offense and can make this Middle defense pay if they aren’t on their game. Quarterback Eric Dungey is an electric player that can make plays with his arm and legs that the defense has to contain. If the secondary can step up and make plays, this is an offense that can be stopped.
On defense, Syracuse is not as strong as Vanderbilt; their secondary is vulnerable and can be attacked. The biggest key for Middle to have success is to protect Brent Stockstill from the defensive line and possible rushing linebackers.
As much as I thought last week’s Middle Tennessee game would be a shootout, I am even more confident this one will be too even after last week. These are two teams that pride themselves on their offense and are facing questionable defenses. As much as I want Middle Tennessee to win, I think they just have too many questions on both sides of the ball to pull this one off on the road.
Syracuse 31 Middle Tennessee 21