Game 7 Prediction: Middle Tennessee State at MSU

• The matchup: Middle Tennessee State (4-2) at No. 15 MSU (6-0)

• The kickoff: 6 p.m., ESPN2

• The weather: Beautiful. High of 71, temps dropping down into the high 40s overnight. Clear skies, no chance of rain.

• The line: MSU –18.5


The Bulldogs have a chance to go to 7-0, one win shy of the best-ever start in school history (8-0 in 1999). I wrote earlier in the week about how this could be a trap game, seeing as how it’s wedged between the Tennessee and Alabama games. The Bulldogs are riding high after the UT win, but then, they were riding high after beating Auburn and almost got upended by Troy.

Little different situation here. That game was at Troy, this one’s at home. Troy had all its important pieces, while MTSU is without leading rusher Benny Cunningham. Put him in the mix, and I’d give MTSU a fighting chance. Perhaps LSU transfer Drayton Calhoun or some other tailback will surprise us, and let’s not forget that MSU had trouble with Tennessee’s backs. But I’d be surprised if Middle Tennessee gained a ton of yards on the ground.

Plus, you figure MSU learned its lesson from the Auburn-Troy deal. Coaches and players have said that practices have been great this week and the focus has been calibrated just right. They say there are no lingering glances back at last week’s win and no peeking ahead to Alabama. If true, then MSU should be just fine.

It’s homecoming, for whatever that’s worth; I’m not sure if that’s really a potential distraction for players. Maybe more so for a high school team.

What this game needs to be for MSU is a thoroughly dominant win, because that’s what teams ranked 12th in the BCS do to teams from the Sun Belt Conference. I believe that’ll happen. The offense will build on last week’s performance, and the defense will keep the Blue Raiders in check.

The prediction: MSU 48, MTSU 14.

I am the online content coordinator for I also co-host The Memo and Prep Rally podcasts and host the Newsbreak program. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04).

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  • MabenMaroon

    Again, as in the previous Sunbelt match-ups this season, we will see just enough out of the Dawgs to win comfortably, but I wouldn’t bet them to cover the spread. I feel like there is a deliberate strategy coming from Coach Mullen and the rest of the staff to keep as much under wraps and off of film as possible. That is a strategy that could work in our favor with Bamastan, LSStew and TAMU lurking on the schedule. There is no need to work on the ” shelf items” duing a game with MTSU, USA, Troy, etc. The team is working on those things in practice every week and the practices are closed to the media and public. We have both SEC caliber offense and defense squads to practice and polish those items against. Am looking for a 10 to 14 point win, with MSU being in the mid to upper 30’s. If MTSU is out of synch, has a bad day with t.o.’s, penalties, etc. it would then probably blow the spread away. Just some humble musings….

    • ezfreeze

      You know MabenMaroon, I was thinking that as well… Once MSU gets a decent lead, it appears there is more substitution… To get the second string more snaps to prepare for the second half of the season… Things do look kind of vanilla as well when playing lower tier schools…

      Which really is fine with me… WHO CARES what you look like… If we never lose, we will play for the SEC Championship… And if we make it that far and win again, how can you be denied a championship bid this year… Not a lot of powerhouse undefeated teams out there right now…

  • Archaeo

    MTSU “can” win against better teams, but if MSU plays the game like the first half last week then its no contest. Thing is I know coaches talk about playing one game at a time, but you know the players are going to be thinking about a potential battle of unbeatens next week. If they can keep from thinking about the Alabama game then all should go well – if not then anything can happen.
    Not giving a score, but MSU should just cover the point spread.

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