The MTSU Blue Raiders fell to 2-2 on the season after losing to in-state rival Memphis, 36-17, at the Liberty Bowl this past Saturday. It proved to be a sloppy game for the Blue Raiders.
“I give Memphis a ton of credit,” said Head Coach Rick Stockstill. “We didn’t execute well enough to win the game. We need to execute better.”
The Blue Raiders turned the ball over two times in the game. Both of these turnovers occurred in Memphis territory. They were too much for MTSU to overcome.
“We have got to do a better job of protecting the ball,” said Stockstill. “We have got to keep emphasizing that. I have a ton of confidence in our team.”
Another struggle for MTSU was its run game. They could only muster 81 yards of rushing. Memphis, however, totaled 271 yards of rushing.
“They did a great job,” said Stockstill. “We have to execute better. We need to block better.”
The Blue Raiders will have to shift their focus to new conference foe, Old Dominion (3-1). ODU entered Conference USA in July of this year.
“They’ve done a good job,” said Stockstill. “They have phenomenal facilities. Their coach [Bobby Wilder] has done a great job.”
This will be the first meeting between the two schools. ODU was impressive in its first conference game last week. They beat last year’s C-USA champion Rice.
“”They beat Rice last week,” said Stockstill. “They are a good football team. It will be a good matchup.”
A big point of emphasis for MTSU will be stopping ODU quarterback Taylor Heinicke. He threw for 430 yards and five touchdowns against Rice last week.
“I don’t know if you can stop him,” said Stockstill. “He’s a good player. We have to keep the ball in front of us.”
MTSU will have to move quickly this week as they face ODU on Friday night. This will change the Blue Raiders’ practice schedule this week.
“It does change a little bit,” said Stockstill. “We went a little longer yesterday. Today will be more of a Tuesday practice. You lose meeting time.”
The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 which will give the Blue Raiders a national audience.
“I want them to see how hard we play,” said Stockstill. “They play with a lot of spirit. I take a lot of pride in the team playing hard.”
The game will be 7 p.m. Friday night at Foreman Field in Norfolk, VA. The game can also be seen on Fox Sports 1.
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