Middle Tennessee vs. UTSA prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Blue Raiders and Roadrunners on Saturday in Murfreesboro, TN.
Middle Tennessee vs. UTSA Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 5 – 2:30 p.m. ET
Where: Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN
TV Broadcast: ESPN3
The Blue Raiders (6-2, 3-1 Conference USA) won a thrilling road game in Miami last week, as D.J. Sanders had a 48-yard Pick 6 of Alex McGough with 1:22 left to score a 42-35 win over Florida International. Middle Tennessee raced out to a 21-0 lead after just six minutes of play but needed to hang on to beat a Golden Panthers squad that has played much better under interim head coach Ron Cooper.
Meanwhile, the Roadrunners (4-4, 3-2) received two touchdown passes from Dalton Sturm and two rushing scores from Jalen Rhodes in a 31-17 win over North Texas at home last week. The Mean Green had the advantage in total offense, but four turnovers did them in. Mason Fine passed for 257 yards and ran for 91, but he had two interceptions and lost a fumble in the loss.
In last year’s meeting between these two schools in San Antonio, Brent Stockstill passed for 257 yards and a touchdown as the Blue Raiders cruised to a 42-7 win. Middle Tennessee had a 35-0 lead after three quarters.
What To Know About Middle Tennessee
The Blue Raiders had a too-close-for-comfort victory last Saturday just one week after going on the road and claiming a 51-45 upset of SEC foe Missouri to ruin the Tigers’ homecoming. Middle Tennessee is not exactly known for having a shutdown defense, so it’s a good thing it can win high-scoring affairs like the one last week against FIU. Stockstill’s arm is one of the best weapons in C-USA, and former Ole Miss running back I’Tavius Mathers is a threat both on the ground and as a pass-catcher coming out of the backfield. So it’s an offense that can keep the team in any game. The defense, on the other hand …
What to Know About UTSA
The Roadrunners were able to bounce back nicely last week from their brutal 52-49 five-overtime loss at home to UTEP, which broke its five-game losing streak in the first five-overtime game in C-USA’s history. It’s been a season of ups and downs for Frank Wilson, who is in his first season as head coach. Dual-threat quarterback Sturm is the key to the offense. When he is efficient and able to find running and passing lanes, this is a team that’s shown it is postseason-worthy, as it has an upset win over Southern Miss earlier in the year. If the Roadrunners want to go bowling, there is very little room for error. It won’t be easy, though, as this is the first of three difficult road tests in a row.
Offense: Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders can win a game both through the air and on the ground.
Defense: UTSA. Both units are very generous to opposing offenses, but UTSA is a little less so than Middle Tennessee.
Special Teams: Even. Middle Tennessee’s Canon Rooker and UTSA’s Victor Falcon have each missed three field goals on the season.
Coaching: Middle Tennessee. Rick Stockstill has his team in the mix for a C-USA title game appearance.
Intangibles: Even. Middle Tennessee is at home, but UTSA is capable of pulling an upset.
Matchup To Watch
Sturm’s dual-threat ability vs. Middle Tennessee defense
In last year’s 42-7 loss to Middle Tennessee, Sturm completed 14 of 23 passes for 140 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He was also held to just 14 rushing yards. If it wasn’t for his 31-yard scoring pass to JaBryce Taylor with 6:33 left, UTSA would have been shut out. This is a Blue Raiders defense that is giving up 440.0 yards per game, and it is susceptible to both the pass and the run. Sturm needs to help his offense keep up with the high-scoring ways of the Blue Raiders, and he should find plenty of room on the ground and through the air. He’ll need to have his best game of the season, because his counterpart has put up at least 278 yards through the air in each game this fall.
Spread: Middle Tennessee -19
Middle Tennessee vs. UTSA Prediction
The Blue Raiders have too much offensive firepower and balance to lose a shootout even if UTSA’s offense is clicking. Sturm and Co. will hang around into the second half, but too much Stockstill and Mathers will ultimately wear out the Roadrunners defense.
Middle Tennessee vs. UTSA Score Prediction: Middle Tennessee 38, UTSA 23