Why Middle Tennessee Will Win The New Orleans Bowl
– The Blue Raiders have to get the pass rush going from the start. The linebacking corps flies around lives behind the line with 35 sacks on the season with the pressure being turned up over the second half of the season. The ASU offensive line has been fantastic all season long, but it’s about to deal with a flurry from several angles like it hasn’t had to face season losing to Penn State in the opener.
– QB Brent Stockstill has seen it all. He’s not all that big, and he doesn’t have a huge arm, but he’s a tough veteran who isn’t going to be fazed by a bowl game against a dangerous Sun Belt champion. He’s razor-sharp as a decision maker, and if he gets time, he can pick defenses apart. Yeah, the Mountaineers have a great pass defense, but they haven’t faced anyone this accurate.
– Can the Middle Tennessee run defense step it up? It hasn’t been a rock, but other than the 225 yards given up to UAB in the Conference USA championship, and the 203 allowed to Kentucky, the Blue Raiders have been strong over the second half of the season thanks to their great linebackers. They’ve allowed fewer than 200 yards in six of the final eight games, and ASU is 1-2 then running for under 200 yards.