(PHOTO COURTESY: MT Athletic Communications Department)
MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee announced its 2015-16 schedule Monday afternoon, and it certainly will be a difficult lineup for the Blue Raiders.
MTSU will take on five schools that made it to bowl games in the 2014 season, along with the two finalists in the Conference-USA Championship game last year.
Middle Tennessee’s challenging schedule also consists of two games against SEC teams for the first time since the 2008-09 season. The Blue Raiders traveled to Kentucky and Mississippi State, both losses for Rick Stockstill.
MTSU finished the 2008-09 season with a 5-7 record.
In the season opener, MTSU hosts Jackson State on Sept. 5. It is the first matchup between both schools since a 1990 matchup that saw the Blue Raiders pick up a 28-7 win in the first round of the I-AA playoffs.
Middle Tennessee then heads to Tuscaloosa for a contest against powerhouse Alabama on Sept. 12. It will be the third all-time meeting between the Crimson Tide and Blue Raiders, with those previous matchups ending in losses for Middle Tennessee.
It also marks the first time MTSU will face Alabama since Nick Saban took over as head coach in 2007.
Stockstill and the Blue Raiders face SEC foe Vanderbilt on Oct. 3, the first time in 95 years that MTSU has hosted Vanderbilt.
This will be the first contest between the Blue Raiders and Vanderbilt since 2005, when the Blue Raiders won 17-15 over the Commodores. The Blue Raiders are currently on a three-game winning streak against Vanderbilt.
MTSU faces Big Ten member Illinois on Sept. 26, the third Power-Five conference team that the Blue Raiders face in their 2015 campaign.
In conference play, Middle Tennessee hosts Charlotte, FIU, Marshall and North Texas. The Blue Raiders have four road contests against conference opponents, traveling to play Western Kentucky, LA Tech, Florida-Atlantic and UTSA.
2015 Blue Raider Football Schedule
Sept. 5 vs. JACKSON STATE
Sept. 12 at Alabama
Sept. 19 vs. CHARLOTTE
Sept. 26 at Illinois
Oct. 3 vs. VANDERBILT
Oct. 10 at WKU
Oct. 17 vs. FIU
Oct. 24 at Louisiana Tech
Nov. 7 vs. MARSHALL
Nov. 14 at Florida Atlantic
Nov. 21 vs. NORTH TEXAS
Nov. 28 at UTSA
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To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email firstname.lastname@example.org.