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November 8, 2013

Preview: MT vs FIU

PREVIEW: MIDDLE TENNESSEE VS FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL:

This Saturday, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (5-4, 3-2) will play host to the Florida International Golden Panthers (1-7, 1-3) inside Floyd Stadium for the 32nd annual Salute to Armed Services/Veterans Day game. The Blue Raiders will take the field dawning their special red, white and blue schemed helmets.

MT will also be looking to continue their winning ways as they enter the game riding a two game win streak, with both coming in spectacular last-second fashion. On the flip side, the Golden Panthers will be looking snap their three game losing streak and notch their second win of the season.

Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. CT and will air on Fox College. The Blue Raiders lead the overall series by a 5-3 margin, and are 3-1 against FIU when playing at home.

GAME BREAKDOWN:

Offense:

The Blue Raider offense enters this game averaging over 500 yards of total offense in their last two games, their best two-game stretch of the season. The main reason for the improvement in of late has a lot to do with the running game, which have averaged 284 yards rushing in those two games. The improvement has boosted the Blue Raiders season averages as well. On the year, MT is averaging 376 yards - 187 through the air and 189 on the ground - per game, which is about as balanced that an attack can be.

Middle Tennessee should be able to keep things going this week as they have another favorable matchup in an FIU team that has struggled defensively all year long. The Golden Panthers are giving up an average of 37 points and a total of 400 total yards - 220 through the air and 180 on the ground - per game.

Reggie Whatley will likely play through pain once again to carry the load this week due to some additional injuries in the backfield, but the Blue Raiders got a boost of depth last week when true freshman Shane Tucker opted to burn his redshirt to help out. He will also get his fair share of touches against the Golden Panthers.

Defense:

For FIU, their defense is not the only unit that is struggling right now. In addition to those woes, the Golden Panthers offense is, statistically, one of the worst units in the nation as they only average 11 points and 225 total yards - 151 passing and 74 rushing - per game.

Even though the Golden Panther offense has been struggling, they should be able to move the ball against a Blue Raider defense that has allowed 31 points and 439 yards - 230 passing and 209 rushing - per game.

PREDICTION: MT 35, FIU 17:

The Blue Raiders enter Saturday with a narrow lead in the overall series against the Golden Panthers, but I expect that MT will add one more to the win column as they become bowl eligible for the second straight year, and more importantly, keep their Conference USA East Division championship hopes alive.

MT has won their last two games in the last few seconds, but look for them to win this one decisively as they handle a struggling Golden Panther team. Assuming RB Reggie Whatley does not have any setbacks during the game, I expect that he will have his best game of the year as he and his fellow mates in the backfield combine to rush for over 200 yards for the third week in a row.

As for QB Logan Kilgore, he is on the brink of history and I expect him to break former Blue Raider QB Wes Counts record of 50 TDs passes over his career in this game. Kilgore only needs two TD strikes to break the record.

Defensively, look for FIU to move the ball and put up some points early, but I expect the Blue Raider defense to make the proper adjustments and shut the Golden Panthers down in the second half.

Final Score - MT 35, FIU 17.



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