MT Looks to “Protect the Ball”, Stop Losing Skid against FAU


Blue Raiders lose long struggle against BYU. Photo by Greg French MTSU Sidelines Staff Photographer

The MTSU football team (5-5, 4-2 C-USA) will look to rebound this Saturday against Florida Atlantic (3-7, 2-4 C-USA) at Floyd Stadium.

Both teams are struggling at the moment. The Blue Raiders have lost three of its last four games, while FAU has lost three in a row.

“We’re playing a faceless opponent,” head coach Rick Stockstill said. “We stunk last week. It’s about us playing up to our standards.”

The Blue Raiders will be coming off a tough loss to Florida International this past Saturday in Miami. MTSU got out to an early 21-3 lead.

However, they would turn the ball over five times on three interceptions and two fumbles on their way to losing 38-28.

“It’s about us protecting the football,” Stockstill said. “We have to do a better job securing the football.”

Turnovers have been really costly for MTSU in their recent struggles. Quarterback Austin Grammer has thrown six interceptions in the past four games.

The Blue Raiders’ overall turnover margin in the past four games is minus-five.

“He has to be more accurate throwing the ball,” Stockstill said. “We’re 4-0 when we win the turnover margin, and we’ve lost five when we lose it.”

Middle Tennessee is still looking to pick up their sixth win of the season and become bowl eligible. They have failed the past two weeks to pick up that elusive sixth win.

“Our morale is great,” Stockstill said. “There’s no more a sense of urgency than there was a week ago or nine weeks ago.”

Saturday’s game will also be Senior Night for the Blue Raiders. MTSU’s seniors will take the field at Floyd Stadium for one last time.

“I’m going to remember the big games, like upsetting Georgia Tech,” senior linebacker Leighton Gasque said, remembering his time with the Blue Raiders.

Gasque is still looking to break the all-time sack record for the Blue Raiders. He is a half-sack behind former Blue Raider Erik Walden’s school record of 22.5.

“It’s not an important record to me,” said Gasque. “It’s just a statistic.”

The game is also a part of MTSU’s 33rd annual Salute to Armed Services and Veterans.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the troops,” Stockstill said. “They’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for us to be able to play football. I’m always excited to show the men and women how much we appreciate them.”

The Blue Raiders will face the Florida Atlantic Owls this Saturday at 6 p.m. The game can be seen on the American Sports Network, and can also be heard on the Blue Raider Network.

For more Blue Raider sports, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Sport

To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email sports@mtsusidelines.com

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