Saturday afternoon on the college gridiron and we will see a pair of teams from Conference U.S.A. square off as the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders grapple with the North Texas Mean Green at Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas. These teams last met back in 2016 and the Blue Raiders won that game, right here in Denton, by a score of 30-13.
Middle Tennessee enters this game off a 28-13 road loss to FAU, which puts them at 1-1 in league play and 2-4 overall. North Texas enters this game off a 45-27 loss at South Miss and they are also at 24-4 overall and 1-1 in league play.
The Offense Is Struggling For The Blue RaidersThe Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders have gotten off to a 2-4 start to their year and the problem for them of late has been an offense that has averaged just 14.5 ppg over their last four games. We do note that two of those games were against Duke and Iowa, who both have solid defenses, but they have also scored just 37 total points in their last two games, which were against league foes Marshall and FAU. The offense has not played well of late, but it has a chance to break out here as the Mean Green have a defense that is 108th in the nation in points allowed, giving up 32.8 ppg on the year. MTSU scored all 13 points in the first half in their 28-13 loss at FAU but they did rack up 449 yards of total offense, including 355 yards passing. The problem was that Asher O'Hara had three INts to just one TD. He has now thrown for 1491 yards with 10 TDs and five INTs on the year. He will have to be far better than last week and he will be facing the 72nd ranked pass defense.
Blue Raider Nation, if you could have an unlimited supply of just ONE thing, what would it be?— Middle Tennessee FB (@MT_FB) October 15, 2019
Find out what Jovante Moffatt would choose on this week's episode of Talk to Me Tuesday!@Jovante_Moffatt | #BlueRaiders | #MT | #EATT pic.twitter.com/gLTbJ25Ryy
The Blue Raiders will need their ground game to step up in this one, but they are ranked 102nd in that department. The good news is that the Mean Green are 92nd in the land against the run. O'Hara leads the team in rushing with 398 yards. The offense is bad for the Blue Raiders, but the defense is a bit worst as they come in ranked 126th in the nation in total yards allowed and 107th in points allowed, giving up 32.7 ppg so far. That may not be good news here as North Texas has an above-average offense overall. We do note that the defense may not be as bad as it seems on the surface as they have allowed 40 points or more in all three games against teams from a Power Five conference, compared to allowing just 23.0 ppg in their other three games.
No Defense In Loss To Southern MissThe North Texas Mean Green have gotten off to a slow 2-4 start and they come in having lost their last two games in a row. The defense has been their issue this year and especially of late as they have allowed 91 points in their last two games. Last week. they allowed 45 points and 563 yards of total offense against Southern Miss in a 45-27 loss on the road. The pass defense was particularly bad as they allowed the Golden Eagles to throw for 421 yards. Overall, North Texas is 72nd in the nation against the pass and they will have a tough matchup in this one as MTSU brings with them the 54th ranked passing offense. If Noth Texas doesn't get their pass defense under control, then they will have a tough time slowing down this offense.
The offense for the Mean Green has been solid so far as they rank 41st in the nation in total offense and 47th in scoring putting up 32 ppg. The offense has needed to play well, and it has, but still, the Mean Green are 2-4 on the year. North Texas has scored an average of 32.3 ppg on 445 ypg over their last three games, so they do have the offense to get the job done, but if they want to win this game, then the defense must step up. Mason Fine is having a solid season so far as he has thrown for 1510 yards with 14 TDs and just four INTs on the year. He will take on the 96th ranked pass defense in the one. Fine could also have a big game if their 58th ranked passing game has a good showing against MTSU's 126th ranked run defense. NT has a couple of cupcakes in Charlotte and UTEP on deck so this could be a nice stretch for them
Middle Tennessee is:
- 5-0 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- 17-5 ATS in their last 22 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game
- 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games following a straight-up loss
North Texas is:
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 conference games.
- 1-6 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games in October