The Times They Are-A Changin'

This time last week most Blue Raider fans were preparing themselves for the worst. Even the most die-hard optimist likely approached the Georgia Tech game with a cautiously subdued state of mind. And to be honest … who could blame them?

The Blue Raiders rolled into Bobby Dodd Stadium as a 27-point underdog to the third most proficient rushing team in the nation. To make matters worse, Yellow Jacket quarterback Tevin Washington has the ability to beat you through the air if things aren't working on the ground. That offense just has so many ways to put up points that there was just NO way the Blue Raiders had a shot.

I'll admit. I didn't give this team much of a shot either. My official prediction on last week's podcast was 44-20 Georgia Tech . . . whoops.

We all know how it turned out. The Blue Raiders kept pace with the Yellow Jackets in the first half despite several costly turnovers AND an inability to turn Georgia Tech miscues into points. Then Benny Cunningham took over and led the Blue Raider offense in outscoring Tech 28-7 through the final two quarters of play.

In just sixty minutes of play this team was able to turn an about-face in the eyes of fans, future opponents and I would guess one or two of the players themselves.

Seriously, the title of this post is about more than my huge fandom of Bob Dylan. In one fell swoop this team changed so many thoughts on the future of this program. Let's examine just a few, shall we?

- In just four quarters, the team changed the outlook for the rest of the season. Many were wondering if the team could possibly limp into bowl contention. Now folks are wondering just how many games they can win if they can continue to play at the level they showed Saturday.

- Rick Stockstill changed from a guy coaching for his job to a guy who … well did that. Unless something crazy happens, Stockstill has undoubtedly bought himself enough goodwill for another season in Murfreesboro.

- If anything has changed this team, it's been Buster Faulkner. Buster Ball has totally reinvented Middle Tennessee's spread attack, giving it an impressive run game to go along with a steady aerial attack.

- Speaking of steady passing, Logan Kilgore showed plenty on Saturday. He's transformed himself from a strong-armed youngster who can get into trouble trying to make plays to a poised decision maker with the ability to run the offense.

- The front seven of the defense changed from an asterisk to the real deal. Many (including myself) were quick to ask whether the efficient run defense the first few games was the result of improvement or terrible opponents. I think Tyrone Nix has effectively answered that question.

Another big point of change revolves around the fans themselves. Like I said earlier, things have shifted from asking if it could possibly get any worse to just how long the team can keep this up. We might not get a full answer this weekend, but we'll certainly get a helpful hint as the Blue Raiders return to Floyd Stadium for Homecoming.

This week, the team takes on the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe in what has to be one of the premier Sun Belt matchups of the season. After ULM beat #9 Arkansas in week one, the Warhawks were soaring high on a wave of national media exposure and – let's be honest – a damn good football team. Two close losses and one impressive win later and they look like a force to be reckoned with.

Make sure to stay tuned to BlueRaiderZone.com throughout the week as we break down the game and give you all the insight you could ever want.

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