Clemson - Middle Tennessee Game Capsule

The Tigers and Blue Raiders will take the field for the first time this afternoon in Death Valley at 5 o'clock sharp. Clemson comes into this game as a 14-point favorite in this non-televised affair. The Blue Raiders are 0-2 on the year, while the Tigers are 1-1 after defeating Furman last week.

The Game: Middle Tennessee State (0-2) at Clemson (1-1) at 5 PM at Memorial Stadium

TV Coverage: None

Radio Coverage: WCCP (104.9-FM, Clemson)

Spread: Clemson is favored by 14 points

The Forecast: Sunny skies this afternoon with a high temperature in the lower 80's. Humidity at 50% with winds from the Southwest at 5 mph.

Series Record: This is the first meeting between these two schools.

Injuries: DL Todd McClinton is out, LB Lionel Richardson is out, and RB Yusef Kelly is questionable with a back injury.

What to watch: Middle Tennessee runs the spread offense and will try to throw the ball over the field. Led by QB Andrico Hines, a threat to beat you on the ground or through the air, accounted for 88% of the Blue Raiders' offense last week in the 29-10 loss to Georgia. Hines has completed 37 of 59 for 333 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. WR Kerry Wright is his favorite target (13 receptions for 188 yards and 1 touchdown- a 71-yard scoring strike against Georgia last weekend).

Defensively, MTSU runs a 3-3-5 formation, similar to what South Carolina has run in years past. S Brandon Lynch leads the team in tackles with 20.

Head coach Andy McCollum was quoted this week, "It was the same type of thing that we went through last week. Don't give up the home run. Don't give up the big play. Keep everything in front of you. We need to continue doing that, but do a better job tackling when they make the plays."

If McCollum is sticking to his gameplan, the Tigers will be forced to either run the ball this afternoon, or rely on the intermmediate passing game like they did against Furman. For more quotes from MTSU's head coach on today's game click here.

Interesting Stat #1: Despite running the spread offense, MTSU is ranked 96th in scoring offense (14.5 points/game) and 98th in total offense (291 yards/game). The Blue Raiders made the jump to Division I-A in 1999. It took the program just two years to defeat a team from the SEC, as the Blue Raiders defeated Vanderbilt in Nashville by a 37-28 score in the season opener. MTSU almost upset Alabama last year in Tuscaloosa, falling 39-34.

Interesting Stat #2: On October 6, 2001, Middle Tennessee and Idaho played the highest scoring game in Division I history when the Blue Raiders gained a 70-58 victory. The two teams combined for 128 points, 1445 yards of total offense, 18 touchdowns and 67 first downs.

Clemson Faces New Team: This will be the first time Clemson has faced Middle Tennessee on the football field. The Blue Raiders are the 90th different opponent Clemson has faced on the gridiron, the 53rd different team currently playing Division I football.

The Blue Raiders will be the 44th different team to play Clemson in Death Valley, a facility that opened in 1942. Clemson is 31-11-1 vs. an opponent making its first appearance in Death Valley, a .733 winning percentage. Only two teams have won their first game in Death Valley since 1976.

Notre Dame and quarterback Joe Montana did it in 1977 with a 21-17 victory on the way to winning the National Championship, and Marshall, led by current New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, accomplished the feat in 1999 by a 13-10 score. That Marshall team ended the season 13-0 and ranked 10th in the nation. Top Stories