On Saturday afternoon, the Blue Raiders (5-3, 4-1 C-USA) will host another historic program at Floyd Stadium.
MT has welcomed the likes of Mississippi State, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia Tech and Minnesota, and will add another historic program to that list.
Brigham Young University (4-4) will travel from Provo, Utah to take on Middle Tennessee, marking the second time that the two schools have matched up against each other.
MT suffered a 37-10 loss against the Cougars in last year’s matchup at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
This year’s matchup looks a little more intriguing given that BYU is on a four-game skid after losing quarterback Taysom Hill to a season-ending leg injury.
The Cougars started the season with a 4-0 record, but have since struggled after being ranked 18th in the Associated Press poll earlier in the year.
BYU has a rich football history, winning the national championship in 1984. The Cougars have also produced a Heisman trophy winner in quarterback Ty Detmer, and hall of fame players such as former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young.
Saturday’s contest is becoming more interesting as it approaches. Here are some key numbers to watch come game time:
14 – Kevin Byard career interceptions. The redshirt junior safety is tied for first among active NCAA players with 14 career interceptions, and is third among active players with 0.42 picks per game. Byard needs one interception to move into second all-time at MT, and trails defensive back James Griffin’s all-time record of 17 interceptions.
7 – Number of consecutive wins for the Blue Raiders at home. MT has not dropped a game at home since a 24-17 loss to East Carolina in October 2013.
30,502 – Largest attendance in Blue Raider history. In that game back in September 2011, Middle Tennessee lost 49-21 to Georgia Tech. According to MTSU athletic director Chris Massaro, ticket sales from Utah and other BYU-affiliated groups are on pace with ticket sales from the Georgia Tech game, perhaps setting up a full house come kickoff.
21 – Leighton Gasque career sacks. Despite Gasque primarily playing on passing downs, the redshirt senior pass rusher has 21 career sacks entering the matchup against BYU. Gasque is second all-time in sacks for the Blue Raiders and is tied for second among active NCAA players. Gasque trails current Indianapolis Colts linebacker Erik Walden’s mark of 22.5 sacks during his tenure as a Blue Raider from 2004-2007.
163 – Number of points allowed by BYU in its last four games. The Cougars rank 87th in the country in points allowed this season, allowing nearly 30 points per game. Brigham Young allowed 55 points to Boise State in its most recent contest, and gave up 42 points against Nevada two weeks ago.
56 – Amount of tackles by T.T. Barber this season. Barber leads the team in tackles and is coming off an 8-tackle performance against UAB last week. Barber also added a sack, and returned an interception 24 yards.
9 – In the ninth game of the season, the Blue Raiders, under MT head coach Rick Stockstill, hold a record of 6-2. Before Stockstill arrived, Middle Tennessee had lost four straight games in its week nine matchups.
17 – MT kicker Cody Clark has connected on 17 of his last 19 field goal attempts. Clark currently sits at ninth all-time in field goals made with 21, sitting behind Archie Arrington’s mark of 22 field goals converted.
10 – The calendar number for the month of November. Over MT’s last 22 games in November, the Blue Raiders hold a 16-6 record and have won its last seven games. Stockstill holds a 19-10 overall record in November.
12 – Austin Grammer’s national rank in completion percentage. The redshirt sophomore quarterback ranks 12th in the country with a 67 percent completion percentage. Against UAB, Grammer only completed 6-of-19 pass attempts for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Grammer will be going up against a BYU defense that has given up 695 passing yards combined in its last two match ups against Boise State and Nevada.
5 – The Blue Raiders sit at five wins on the season following its 34-22 victory over UAB. With a win over BYU this week, Middle Tennessee would be bowl eligible for the third straight season and fourth out of the last five years.
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To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Connor_Grott