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November 1, 2013

Preview: MT at UAB

PREVIEW: MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT UAB:

Coming off of a long layoff, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (4-4, 2-2) will take the short trip south this Saturday to take on the Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (2-5, 1-2) in Conference USA action. The last time we saw the Blue Raiders, they took down Marshall, the top team in the East Division, after a last second touchdown pass from QB Logan Kilgore to WR Tavarres Jefferson to cap what was a crazy game. MT will be looking to ride that momentum into the home stretch of their schedule as they look to get one step closer to bowl eligibility. Kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m. CT and will air on Fox Sports Net. Additionally, the game will air locally on SportSouth.

THE GAME BREAKDOWN:

The Blue Raider offense put together their best game of the year last week against Marshall, racking up a season high 585 yards - 308 rushing and 277 passing - on a school record 100 plays of offense. This week, MT should be able to put up monster numbers again as they have some very favorable matchups against the Blazers defensive unit.

UAB has been a disaster on defense this season, allowing the opposition to score an average of 40 points per game, and have allowed over 50 points three times this season. The Blazers also give up an average of 475 yards per game - 288 passing and 187 rushing - while the Blue Raider offense comes into the game averaging 369 yards per game - 189 passing and 180 rushing.

The Blue Raider offense will most likely be without their starting RB Jordan Parker as he is nursing an injury. If Parker does not play, look for RB's Jeremiah Bryson and Reggie Whatley to shoulder the load with Drayton Calhoun potentially getting a few carries as well.

Defensively, the Blue Raider defense has been up and down all season. At times, this unit looks as though they can shut anyone down, coming up with big plays and forcing an abundant amount of turnovers. On the other hand, this squad gives up way to many yards and allows opposing teams to score at will, which has resulted in a season average of 32 points allowed per game.

This week will be no easy task, either, as UAB averages just under 29 points per game on offense. The Blazers are also pretty efficient on offense, where they average 236 passing yards per game to go with 14 TDs and just five INTs. On the ground, the Blazers average 160 yards per game and have produced an additional eight TDs.

Putting two and two together, this game looks to have the makings of a shootout.

PREDICTION: MT 42, UAB 35:

I expect this game to be close with both teams having their moments throughout the contest with the winner of the game not securing the victory until the final minutes of the game. UAB comes in to this game with their backs against the wall, much like MT last week against in their game against Marshall. Company that with this being UAB'S Homecoming game, and I think the Blazers will come out focused and ready to do battle.

For MT, I look for QB Logan Kilgore to build off of his impressive performance last week by throwing for over 200 yards with a pair of touchdowns while the running game, even without Parker, will have their way with the Blazers to the tune of 200 yards.

The Blue Raider defense is going to give up their share of yards and points in this contest, but I expect that they will do just enough to keep the Blue Raiders ahead in the end to secure their second straight victory and get back above .500 mark.

Final Score - MT 42, UAB 35



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