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MTSU Blue Raiders 2017 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

MTSU Blue Raiders 2017 Preview

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The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders are expected to be a factor in the CUSA in 2017.

Overview: Head coach Rick Stockstill has the ingredients to make noise in the CUSA with son Brent under center leading the offense but he needs to find some run stoppers on the defensive line to compete for a conference title.

MTSU Blue Raiders 2017 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

USA TODAY Sports

Offense: The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders offense needs to protect ‘franchise’ quarterback Brent Stockstill who  missed some time with a broken collarbone in 2016. Stockstill has plenty of options and experience to play catch with especially Ty Lee and Richie James who will lead a very productive Blue Raiders receiving corps. Despite possessing a dangerous air attack, the ground game has to be respectable and that falls on the shoulders of Maurice Gordon and Terelle West with I’Tavius Mathers taking almost 1,600 rushing yards to graduation. The MTSU offensive line lost a chunk of experience as well so succeeding on the ground is not a guarantee.

Defense: The 2016 Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders struggled to stop the run which is the bad news but even worse is the unit will have to be rebuilt with five of the top six gone which might end up being a be a good thing. The Blue Raiders are projected to start Tyshun Render at end and Malik Manciel at tackle with both having some limited experience but the unit has to prove themselves to be good or bad which only comes from being on the field. The Middle Tennessee secondary was adequate in 2016 but they were victimized by a lack of a pass rush and not enough help on run ‘D’ so the potential of this unit is rather good if help is on the horizon in 2017…and that’s a big if!

Special Teams: Matt Bonadies will handle the punting chores and placekicker Canon Rooker was strong on sub 40 yard field goals while Desmond Anderson is a reliable returner but Rooker and Anderson are clearly the best of the MTSU special teams.

Outlook: I think the Blue Raiders season could be described as a big IF. If the run defense is viable and if the rushing attack compliments what should be a productive passing game, Middle Tennessee State will be in the running for the CUSA East crown.  

Schedule:

9-2 vs. Vanderbilt

9-9 @ Syracuse

9-16 @ Minnesota

9-23 vs. Bowling Green

9-30 @ Florida Atlantic

10-7 vs. Florida Atlantic

10-14 @ UAB

10-20 vs. Marshall

11-4 vs. UTEP

11-11 @ Charlotte

11-17 @ Western Kentucky

11-25 vs. Old Dominion

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