After having a bye this past weekend, the Blue Raiders (5-3) will return to the gridiron this Saturday to host the Brigham-Young University Cougars (4-4) at Floyd Stadium, following BYU’s 55-30 loss to Boise State this past Friday.
“They’re a good football team,” Head Coach Rick Stockstill said. “Their record doesn’t indicate how good they are. They’ve lost a couple of late games. It ought to be an exciting week.”
This Saturday will mark only the second time that the Blue Raiders and Cougars have faced each other. The two faced off last season in Provo, Utah, with BYU picking up a 37-10 victory.
The quarterback position will be important for both teams.
MT signal caller Austin Grammer is coming off a tough game against UAB two weeks ago. The sophomore quarterback was only 6-for-19 passing for 141 yards and one touchdown.
The Cougars quarterback situation turned bleak when they lost their dual-threat specialist Taysom Hill to a broken leg against Utah State on October 3. Hill was a dark-horse Heisman Trophy candidate at the start of the season.
In last year’s game against the Blue Raiders, Hill threw for 177 yards and ran for another 165.
“He was so dynamic,” Stockstill said. “He was one of the best in the country. He was the leader of that team. There aren’t many quarterbacks that can rush for 200 yards a game, and throw for the same amount. Anytime you lose a quarterback it’s a tough deal to replace.”
BYU started the season 4-0 and were ranked 18th in the Associated Press Top 25. Then, the wheels fell off for the Cougars, losing Hill in their next game and dropping four straight contests.
However, much like MT’s win over Georgia Tech in 2012, Saturday’s matchup may be another big opportunity for the Blue Raiders.
The Cougars have a rich football history, winning the national championship in 1984. Also, they have produced some great quarterbacks, including Ty Detmer (Heisman Trophy winner in 1990), Steve Young and Jim McMahon.
“We went there last year, and you forget how much tradition and history and how many great players have gone through that program,” said Stockstill. “I think it’s a unique opportunity for our fans to see one of the more successful teams in the history of college football come to your stadium and town. You have to give credit to Chris Massaro (MTSU Athletic Director) and Dr. McPhee (MTSU President).”
MT has been solid at home as of late, with the Blue Raiders having won their last seven games at Floyd Stadium.
“We take a lot of pride in playing at home,” added Stockstill.
The Blue Raiders should be well-rested, as Coach Stocksill gave the team the week off after they came from behind to beat UAB 34-22 in their homecoming contest on October 18. The Blue Raiders will have had two weeks to prepare for the Cougars.
Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Stadium. The game can also be seen on the CBS Sports Network and heard on the Blue Raider Network.
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