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MTSU insider: Blue Raider key to victory is to force the BYU Cougars to pass

Published: Thursday, Sept. 26 2013 11:46 a.m. MDT

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(AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
1. Most BYU fans are relatively unfamiliar with MTSU and its football program. Briefly describe the football program, including recent successes and difficulties.

Sparks: MTSU went I-A (FBS) in 1999. It joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2001 and won a share of the league title that first year.

After 12 years in the Sun Belt, this is MTSU's first in Conference USA. MTSU's best wins in FBS have been against Vanderbilt three times (2001, ’02, ’05), Maryland twice (2008, '09) and a 49-28 blowout at Georgia Tech last season.

Under coach Rick Stockstill, MTSU has gone to three bowls (and was shafted out of a bowl last season with an 8-4 record). Stockstill's best season was 2009, when the Blue Raiders went 10-3 with a win in the New Orleans Bowl.
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defibman
Syracuse, UT

"BYU is independent, but anyone around college football considers the Cougars a major program."

Shhhhhhhhhhhh ! Don't anyone tell Chris B that. Despite a couple of losses or losing to the u four years in a row, BYU still has a reputation around the Nation as a major program because of their HISTORY. The mighty u has not done that and so they do not have that said about them. Everyone East of the Rockies still do not know who they are....even Alabama knows that they were a one hit wonder and are still expected to go nowhere until they produce a NC, Heisman winner, Outland Trophy winner, Davy O'brien award winner, etc, etc, etc. A major program produces major award winners.

Guam_Bomb
BARRIGADA, GU

Can you say, trap game?

Y Grad / Y Dad
Richland, WA

Guam_Bomb
BARRIGADA, GU

"Can you say, trap game?"

I agree, it certainly has that potential. A lot of PAC teams will be looking at Utah the same way...

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NevadaCoug
Overton, NV

"I know it's a tough road environment, but MTSU has made a habit of playing in SEC and ACC stadiums over the years, so it won't be anything out of the ordinary (aside from the high elevation, if that's a factor)."

Um, yes, elevation will be a factor. If these guys have never played a game at this kind of altitude, they will be in a for a big surprise.

It seems this guy is admitting that MTSU is susceptible to the run. That could be a good sign for BYU. But I'm not taking anything for granted. BYU needs to show up with its A game and Hill needs to complete 50% of his passes.

The Solution
Las Cruces, NM

@defibman:
While it is true that people consider BYU "major" program, there is no need to knock Utah's accomplishments. They have been excellent the last decade, and if they start doing better in the PAC, they will become a well-known team. We have enough to worry about with BYU gettng back into the national conversation.

@NevadaCoug:
Elevation will only be a factor if we keep their defense on the field long enough. Then it will be like the UT game with their players gassed in the fourth quarter gasping for air.

kosimov
Riverdale, UT

This game could be very interesting, depending on the attitudes of the teams before the game.

If BYU takes this game seriously and brings their "A" game, MTSU will be in for a long night. Because of team speed, they may have a couple big plays, which will matter only if their ground game and short pass game work well against BYU. On the other hand, MTSU could surprise BYU because they are unknown and have nothing to lose. If they lose the game, well, they were predicted to lose. If they lose by less than three touchdowns, they would gain some ground as far as the audiences watching the game are concerned.

BYU is in an interesting position also. They almost have to really slaughter MTSU in order to come out ahead. Even if they win by two or three touchdowns, they only "cover the spread" (I don't really know exactly what that means but I hear it a lot so I thought I'd try it here!). If they lose it will be very painful and will give their in state rivals ammo to use against them on the blogs and in the papers.

I hope BYU wins.

GilmerTexasCougar
Gilmer, TX

defibman--I don't think you are doing BYU a favor by posting vitriolic comments about Utah football. Nobody loves BYU and BYU football any more than I do (I graduated at BYU in 1966). It is impossible to elevate oneself by pulling down someone else--it only makes you look smaller. Utah has had two undefeated seasons and participated in BCS bowl games both seasons and won those games. That does make them a major player in college football. They defeated Alabama worse than Florida did and should have been national champions! As long as Utah continues to defeat BYU how on earth can we put down their football program?

86&90UTE
Holladay, UT

In my opinion, this game isn't going to help BYU. I think BYU will win, perhaps by 20 points. But they will be forced to run because that is MTSU's weakness. If the run is working, why risk passing with a QB with accuracy problems on a cold night with cold hands against a speedy defense who can break on poorly thrown passes and get picks. So BYU gets the win, but doesn't really improve their pass game which doesn't bode well for next weeks Utah St. Game.

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