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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Floyd Stadium (31,000) -- Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Troy 2-4, MTSU 2-2. Away Record: Troy 3-2, MTSU 5-1. Neutral Record: Troy 0-0, MTSU 0-0. Conference Record: Troy 3-4, MTSU 5-1. Series Record: Middle Tennessee leads, 11-8.
GAME NOTES: The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders will try to continue their quest towards a Sun Belt Conference championship on Saturday afternoon when they host the Troy Trojans.
Despite having just one win in its past three games, Troy has shown a lot of promise in recent weeks, with tough losses at Tennessee (55-48) and at home against first-place Arkansas State (41-34), with a solid non-conference win over Navy (41-31) sandwiched in between. The Trojans need a win in this matchup to become bowl eligible.
It wasn't Middle Tennessee's best effort, but it escaped a road date against South Alabama last week with a 20-12 victory, giving it five road wins on the season. The Blue Raiders control their own destiny in the conference, as they have a bout on the road next week against Arkansas State, which also has just one loss in Sun Belt play.
Middle Tennessee holds an 11-8 advantage over Troy in the all-time series, which includes an 8-4 mark in Murfreesboro.
Troy has the most potent offense in the Sun Belt when it comes to putting up yards (501.2 ypg), but in terms of scoring (31.5 ppg), it still ranks behind Louisiana, Arkansas State and ULM.
Corey Robinson has put together another stellar season under center, as he is completing 66.6 percent of his passes for a conference-best 2,938 yards. Despite the yardage however, Robinson ranks ninth in the league in touchdown passes (11) and has thrown eight interceptions. Backup quarterback Deon Anthony is often utilized, and he has made the most of his snaps with 15 total touchdowns (eight passing, seven rushing).
Chip Reeves is the team-leader in receptions with 61 and he's the only player in the conference to reach 1,000 yards receiving at this point in the season (1,034). He caught six passes for 142 yards and a touchdown last week, his sixth score of the year. Eric Thomas (637 yards, six TDs) and Chandler Worthy (517 yards, two TDs) are also reliable targets for the QBs.
Shawn Southward has 100 more carries than anyone else on the team and he's taken advantage of the workload with 896 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's also a reliable receiver out of the backfield with 38 receptions for 308 yards.
The Trojans have been on the wrong end of several shootouts this season thanks to an under-performing defensive unit (31.1 ppg, 454.1 ypg).
The defense has made just five interceptions on the season, led by a pair from Brynden Trawick, who's also the team's leading tackler (81). It also has difficultly getting after the quarterback with only 13 sacks, with three coming from Tony Davis.
Last week's sluggish 20-point effort against South Alabama was more the exception rather than the rule for the Middle Tennessee offense, which is averaging just under 30 ppg on the season.
Logan Kilgore has done a great job managing the offense, as he's among the conference leaders in completion percentage (.656) and efficiency rating (152.2). He has thrown for 228.1 ypg, 16 touchdowns, and just four picks.
The Blue Raiders lost their dynamic running back Benjamin Cunningham (600 yards, 11 TDs) after just five games, but freshman Jordan Parker (637 yards, two TDs) has filled in admirably. Parker rushed for a career-high 154 yards a week ago.
Anthony Amos has been one of the most trusted receivers in the league, as he ranks third in both catches (63) and yards (929), while tying for first in receiving touchdowns (nine).
The MT defense (27.0 ppg, 430.6 ypg) has been up-and-down all year, but it showed up in a big way last week by allowing just 338 yards of offense on the road.
Jajuan Harley is the reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week after recording five tackles, forcing a fumble, and picking off two passes, giving him three interceptions on the season. Craig Allen leads the team with 75 tackles.
Troy has been a very competitive team this season and it'll have extra motivation in the finale as it tries to earn bowl eligibility, but Middle Tennessee is one of the most well-balanced teams in the conference. The Blue Raiders have their eyes on a potential conference crown, and that should be all the motivation they need.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Middle Tennessee 34, Troy 31
11/21 10:53:59 ET
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