Photo by Meagan White/ Sidelines Archive
With just over a week and a half until Blue Raider football is back in the Boro, Sidelines takes a look deeper into the schedule that Middle Tennessee has. 10 win season looming? Big non-conference? Everything’s looking right for the Blue Raiders at the moment, and coming off a week with multiple good commits on the recruiting side, the team looks ready for the home opener.
Week 1- Alabama A&M (Home)
We won’t talk much about A&M, but keep an eye out later this week for a breakdown of the matchup. A member of the SWAC, A&M hasn’t had a winning season since 2012 when they went 7-4. Last season, the Bulldogs went 3-8, most notably 0-6 on the road.
One of the lone A&M wins came against Jackson State, a 28-22 victory at home. The Blue Raiders beat Jackson State in the home opener last season 70-14 in one of their most dominant offensive outings of the year.
Look for the home opener to be a great starting point for a Blue Raider team hungry for a strong season and a bowl win.
Week 2- Vanderbilt (Away)
Last season on homecoming, the Blue Raiders were minutes from a solid win against an in-state foe in the Commodores but fell after a 39-yard TD run from Ralph Webb with just over a minute left in the game.
The Commodores return most of the offensive and defensive starters from 2015, including Webb and QB Johnny McCrary. On the defensive side of the ball, Vanderbilt brings back their entire front three and the same pair of corners from last season.
Heading to Nashville for this season’s contest, Middle Tennessee poses as big a threat as ever to secure an important non-conference win.
Week 3- Bowling Green (Away)
The Falcons pose one of the biggest threats in an already tough non-conference for Middle Tennessee. Bowling Green, in a tough MAC, finished 10-4 in 2015-16 but left with a sour taste in their mouth after winning the conference championship game, falling in the GoDaddy Bowl to Georgia Southern.
In their non-conference last season, the Falcons knocked off Maryland, Purdue and narrowly fell against Memphis.
SB Nation called the 2015-16 Falcons a team that “flew higher than any other”. Returning numerous players including redshirt senior QB James Knapke, Bowling Green will be looking to carry over last year’s success.
Stay tuned to Sidelines for breakdowns of weeks 4-7, 8-10 and 11-13.