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The Blue Raiders come into the week with a slim half-game lead over Florida International for the top spot in the Conference USA East standings. Meanwhile, UTEP made headlines all across the country last week by snapping the nation’s longest losing streak at 20 with a victory over Rice. Can they keep their momentum going at home against one of the top teams in Conference USA?
Mobley sets single game freshman rushing record
Middle Tennessee won its third straight game last week behind a career day from freshman running back Chaton Mobley, who rushed for a freshman record 198 rushing yards in the team’s 29-10 victory over Western Kentucky. Quarterback Brent Stockstill completed 24 of his 42 pass attempts for 228 yards and two touchdowns, while Ty Lee caught five balls for 81 yards and a score to help the Blue Raiders remain atop the Conference USA East standings with a 5-1 conference record.
— Stadium (@WatchStadium) November 3, 2018
Led by Stockstill, Middle Tennessee enters Saturday’s game scoring 28.4 points per game, while averaging 368.6 yards of total offense per game. After a pair of 30-touchdown seasons to start his collegiate career, Stockstill has been particularly efficient in his senior season, throwing for 17 touchdowns and five interceptions, while completing a career-best 67.5 percent of his passes. Chaton Mobley leads the team in rushing with 326 yards and three touchdowns, but the Blue Raiders use a bevy of backs to anchor their rushing attack, which averages better than 140 rush yards per game. On defense, Middle Tennessee is allowing 25.9 points and 415 yards of total offense per game, including 170.7 yards per game on the ground.
UTEP snaps nation’s longest losing skid at 20
UTEP ended the nation’s longest losing streak last week with a 34-26 victory over Rice last week. The victory snapped a 20-game losing streak, marking the program’s first victory since beating North Texas in the final game of the 2016 season. UTEP jumped out to an early 27-0 lead and it looked like UTEP was going to cruise to an easy win before Rice staged a furious fourth quarter comeback to put the outcome of the game in serious doubt. The Owls scored three fourth quarter touchdowns and were marching down the field for a fourth when a Miner intercepted iced the win. UTEP relied on its ground game to end the nation’s longest losing streak, rushing for 200 yards and five touchdowns in the win. Quardraiz Wadley rushed for a team-best 93 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Kevin Locksley completed 13 of 21 passes for 193 yards and an interception, but added two rushing touchdowns to break the chains for UTEP. Locksley’s 193 passing yards were his second-highest output of the season. The junior quarterback has now tossed for just 772 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions so far this season.
— UTEP Football (@UTEPFB) November 4, 2018
UTEP will need to rely on their run game once again if they are going to have a chance against the Blue Raiders this week. Wadley leads the team in rushing with 475 rush yards and five touchdowns this season and he will have to have a big day against a Middle Tennessee defense that is susceptible to big plays on the ground. The Miners enter the week scoring just 17.4 points per game and averaging only 308.9 yards of total offense so far this season. On defense, UTEP is allowing a healthy 29.6 points and 382.8 yards of total offense per contest, including 194.4 yards per game on the ground.
- Miners are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games in November.
- Miners are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Miners are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games.
- Blue Raiders are 4-0 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Blue Raiders are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on turf.
- Blue Raiders are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 conference games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
UTEP may have snapped a 20-game losing streak last week, but they also nearly blew a 27-0 lead in the process. Middle Tennessee has had an up-and-down season, but they have a major advantage under center in this game. Stockstill has more than double the passing yardage as compared to Locksley and he’s managed to cut down on his turnovers this year. MTSU’s senior QB has seven touchdowns and just one pick during the team’s current three-game winning streak. Take the Blue Raiders to cover the spread on the road in El Paso on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Pick: Middle Tennessee -13.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The Miners have stayed under the projected total in each of their last four games and the under is 13-2-1 in UTEP’s last 16 games following a straight up win. Middle Tennessee found success with their run game last week and both teams should be able to move the ball on the ground in this game, which should slow up the tempo of both offenses. The Blue Raiders have given up 24 points or less in six straight games, which has me leaning towards the under in this Conference USA showdown on Saturday.
Half-Time Side Pick
Middle Tennessee is undoubtedly a better team and they have the advantage with Stockstill at quarterback. UTEP is averaging just 17.4 points per game this season and they were shut out in their last home game against UAB. Take the Blue Raiders to cover the number in the first half of this game on Saturday.
Prediction: Middle Tennessee -7
Half-Time Total Bet
Middle Tennessee’s defense has allowed 17 points points or less in each of their last three games and under 25 in each of their last six contests. UTEP has been underwhelming on offense this year, which has me leaning towards the under in this C-USA affair on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Under 24