Start Time: 4:00 P.M. ET, Saturday, Sept. 12
Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TV: SEC Network
Records: MTSU 1-0, Alabama 1-0. (Alabama leads the overall series 1-0).
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: MTSU +35.5. Over/Under: 56.5.
MTSU Outlook: The decision to move redshirt freshman Brent Stockstill (25-31/364/4TD) into the starting lineup paid off well with the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders scoring 70 in a week one win.
The MTSU offense was excellent versus FCS foe Jackson State in putting up 605 yards of total offense with a 6.4 yards per play average. MTSU got four players involved with nine or more rushes led by Jordan Parker (16/68/1TD) and Shane Tucker (14/61/0TD). Stockstill connected on 80.6% of his attempts with nine different players catching passes. Wide receiver Ed Batties (8/123/2TD) was the star of the day with Richie James (7/94/0TD) combining to make 15 of the 27 overall receptions.
For a defense that struggled last fall, the Blue Raiders rush defense was excellent in week one with Jackson State accumulating only five total yards rushing for a 0.2 yards per carry average. Overall, the MTSU defense held Jackson State to only 276 total yards on the day. Cavellis Luckett (6 tkl, 1 tfl) led the way for for a defense that made seven tackles for loss, four sacks, and one interception.
Alabama Outlook: Packed with four and five star recruits at nearly every position, Alabama reasserted their dominance with a 35-17 win over Wisconsin in the season opener.
The Crimson Tide racked up 502 yards of total offense on the night with 7.6 yards per offensive play. Running back Derrick Henry (13/147/3TD) is one of the best running backs in the nation with Kenyan Drake (10/77/1TD) seeing touches as his backup. Quarterback Jake Coker (15-21/213/1TD) did everything the Crimson Tide coaching staff asked out of him in finding nine different receivers on the night.
As talented as Alabama is on offense, they are even better on defense with All-American candidates all over the field. Wisconsin was only able to rush the ball for 40 total yards on 21 carries for a 1.9 yards per carry average. Reggie Raglan (8.5 tkl) led the way in tackles with Alabama making four tackles for loss and three sacks in the game. Eddie Jackson (6 tkl, 1 INT) caused the only turnover by the the Alabama defense that held Wisconsin to 268 total yards.
Prediction: MTSU looked just about as good as the fan base could have hoped for in dropping 70 points on FCS program Jackson State. The real test is finally here with the #2 ranked Crimson Tide next on the slate. While not impossible, a win over Alabama is incredibly improbable with the best case scenario being a closer than expected loss combined with few injuries. Alabama wins big over the Blue Raiders.