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2023 Week 2 - Middle Tennessee @ Missouri: How To Watch, Preview, Prediction

The Blue Raiders face their second SEC squad in consecutive weeks as they look to upset the Tigers in Columbia

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Game Notes

Time/Date: Saturday, September 9 at 7 p.m. ET

Network: SEC Network+

Location: Faurot Field – Columbia, MO

Spread: Missouri, -21*

Over/Under: 47.5*

All-Time Series: The series is tied 1-1.

Last Meeting: Middle Tennessee 51, Missouri 45 – October 22, 2016

Current Streak: Middle Tennessee, 1

*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.

Setting the Scene

Rick Stockstill never does his squad any favors to start the season. However, after back to back bowl victories and being selected third in the C-USA Preseason Poll, Stockstill is hoping to rekindle some magic and win yet another game against a Power Five Team. Last year, it was No. 25 Miami in Coral Gables. In 2017, it was Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. In 2016, the Blue Raiders stunned Missouri in Columbia to spoil their homecoming celebrations. Can they do it again?

Missouri Outlook

Missouri dominated South Dakota in their season opener, 35-10. The game was never really competitive as Missouri led 28-3 at the half and began rotating starters. The Missouri defense lived up to the preseason hype and limited South Dakota to less than 200 yards of total offense.

The biggest question mark coming into the season was who would be the starting quarterback. While Eli Drinkwitz claimed there was an open competition between Brady Cook, Sam Horn, and Jake Garcia, it didn’t really appear that way. Brady Cook was officially named starter this week after he made light work of the Coyotes going 17-21 for 172 yards and two TDs. Meanwhile, Sam Horn did get the opportunity to play the entire second half. However, Drinkwitz only let him throw the ball five times.

Despite Jake Garcia not getting any snaps under center, Drinkwitz will likely turn to the Miami transfer to send a message to his team this week. Garcia knows better than most that the Blue Raiders can win this game. After all, it was Garcia’s first start for the Hurricanes last season when they fell to Middle Tennessee.

Middle Tennesee Outlook

Last week, Middle Tennessee traveled to Tuscaloosa where they lost by 50 to Alabama. However, that is not a fate that is exclusive to the Blue Raiders. Nick Saban always has the Crimson Tide ready to play regardless of the opponent.

That being said, there are still plenty of things to work on. Despite giving up over 50 points on defense, the Blue Raiders really need to figure out how to generate more offense. Despite running the ball 26 times, Middle Tennessee only managed 78 yards on the ground. Starting quarterback Nick Vattiato also struggled. While Vattiato finished with a 66% completion percentage on 32 attempts, he was only able to put up 127 passing yards. However, most of the struggles could be chalked up to subpar offensive line play. Vattiato did not have much time to throw the ball and the line could not generate a push for their backs.

Given that they played Alabama, it is hard to identify if the issue lies with the offensive line, running backs, or starting quarterback. While the Tigers are still an SEC opponent, I would expect the Blue Raiders to simultaneously give up less points and to score more against Missouri than they did Alabama. Can Middle Tennessee beat yet another Power Five team and party like it is 2016 in Columbia?


The Blue Raiders will play better this week. However, they will need to play perfect and catch Missouri looking ahead to their massive week three showdown against Kansas State to even have a chance. With that being said, Missouri’s defense is too good and may end up being the best in the SEC. After keeping the game close for a half, the Blue Raiders will make too many mistakes down the stretch. Missouri takes this one, 34-17.