#95 Middle Tennessee State Football 2013 Preview

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

Overall Rank: #95
#6 Conference USA


MTSU Team Page#95 Middle Tennessee State Football 2013 PreviewBuy MTSU Football Tickets

Middle Tennessee State is one of a handful of teams that is making the move from the Sun Belt to Conference USA this season. The conference as a whole is not as strong as they were in years past due to teams like Houston and UCF heading to the American Athletic Conference, but this is a good move for a program on the rise. Coach Rick Stockstill has had plenty of success during his seven years in Murfreesboro and this is just the next step and another challenge.

2012 Record: (8-4, 6-2)
2012 Bowl: None
Coach: Rick Stockstill (43-44 at Middle Tennessee State, 43-44 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Buster Faulkner
Defensive Coordinator: Steve Ellis and Tyrone Nix

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jordan Parker, RB, 851 yards
Passing: Logan Kilgore, QB, 2,571 yards
Receiving: Kyle Griswould, WR 531 yards
Tackles: Craig Allen, LB, 82
Sacks: Leighton Gasque, LB, 4.0
Interceptions: Kevin Byard, S, 4

Other Key Returnees: OT Isaiah Anderson, LB T.T. Barber, DE Shubert Bastien, LB Roderic Blunt, WR Christian Collis, TE Jacob Corbaley, CB Kenneth Gilstrap, G Jadareisu Hamlin, OT Darius Johnson, CB Chris Sharpe, DT Jimmy Staten, G Josh Walker

Key Losses: WR Anthony Amos, RB Benny Cunningham, DT Kendall Dangerfield, S Jajuan Harley, C Micah James, K Carlos Lopez, DE Omar McLendon

MTSU will have one of the most potent offenses in the conference thanks to Jordan Parker and Logan Kilgore. Parker is just a sophomore, but he finished 2012 strong and is poised for a big year. Parker rushed for 851 yards and three scores on 166 carries, which is not all that impressive, yet his potential has MTSU fans excited…and rightfully so. While Parker does his damage on the ground, Kilgore will do it through the air. Kilgore will be a three year starter and the 6-3 senior will attempt to save the best for last. Kilgore is already one of the most productive quarterbacks in Middle Tennessee State history and he will pretty much own the record books after 2013. Last year he threw for 2,571 yards and 16 touchdowns and the numbers may stay around that level if Parker does as well as expected. Kilgore does lose his top receiver, Anthony Amos, yet there are plenty of other options returning. Kyle Griswould, who caught 45 passes for 531 yards, is the top returning receiver. Parker and Kilgore can do a lot on their own, yet the return of four starting offensive linemen will help. The unit allowed just six sacks all of last season and any offense can be decent with protection like that and a good offense like this one can be great.

As quickly as this team can score, they can give those points right back. The good news is eight starters are back so this is a more experienced unit. But this is a team that only tallied 14 sacks and that must change. Shubert Bastien can get pressure in spurts, yet there is a huge gap on the other side for the time being. Craig Allen leads the linebackers and tallied a team high 82 tackles. Roderic Blunt and T.T. Barber are experienced options and spent a majority of 2012 in the starting lineup. Those two will need to help out the front four when it comes to stopping the run. Middle Tennessee State ranked eighth in the Sun Belt last season in rushing defense. The schedule is not horribly tough, but the Blue Raiders will have a difficult time stopping the run if the defense does not improve.

The Bottom Line:
At the very least Middle Tennessee State should be a nice fit in Conference USA this season. Some of the more traditionally potent offenses may have left for greener pastures, but Coach Stockstill will have his team lighting up the scoreboard and helping to keep Conference USA as a high scoring bunch. Unfortunately, the defense will also help in that regard and that will make the debut season in Conference USA rather average.

Projected Bowl: None

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 176.67 (46th in nation, 4th in Sun Belt)
Passing Offense: 216.08 (77, 8)
Total Offense: 392.75 (66, 5)
Scoring Offense: 26.58 (75, 6)
Rushing Defense: 188.25 (84, 8)
Pass Defense: 252.58 (90, 5)
Total Defense: 440.83 (92, 8)
Scoring Defense: 28.00 (62, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.83 (19, 1)
Sacks: 1.17 (109, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 0.58 (2, 2)


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