4. College Football News Preview 2020: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense struggled, but it wasn’t that bad. It couldn’t come up with a third down stop, and that’s partly because it was the second-worst in the nation in sacks, but …
Okay, so the Blue Raiders were dead last in Conference USA in total defense, but after a rough first month of the season – they were ripped apart by the three Power Five teams on the slate – they were okay.
However, Middle Tennessee was 0-8 when allowing more than 26 points, 4-0 when allowing that many or fewer. But …
– Seven of the top 12 tacklers are gone. On the plus side, it’s not like all those former seniors did much to make the D rock, especially considering the pass rush came up with 11 sacks.
6-2, 217-pound senior DQ Thomas is back after making 74 stops, two sacks and 12 tackles for loss, but he made eight sacks with 14.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore. He’s fine, but the rest of the linebacking corps has to come through with two new starters.
The line that didn’t get to the quarterback enough has to replace three starters, but 6-1, 281-pound Rakavian Poydras is back on the inside. It’s going to be a green group around him, but there’s good size.
– The pass defense was the worst in Conference USA, but there’s hope. The team’s leading tackler – Jovante Moffatt – is gone, but Reed Blankenship returns after missing half the year. Throw in fellow safety Kylan Stribling, expect more out of a now-deep group of corners, and there should be a whole lot more production – if there’s a pass rush.