The Stretch Run Begins

The Blue Raider Zone takes a look at the Middle Tennessee-Arkansas State game.

Middle Tennessee will look to continue its streak of impressive play when they host Arkansas State this weekend. The Blue Raiders have won two of its last three games with the loss being a two point defeat to No. 19 Virginia. Blue Raider fans must hope ASU continues its trend of winning every other game. This week, the pattern calls for an Indians loss.

The Indians are coming off a 52-51 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend. In that game, sophomore Reggie Arnold rushed for 225 yards and quarterback Corey Leonard set a school record with five touchdown passes. Leonard's performance earned him Sun Belt Player of the Week honors.

Leonard, a sophomore, averages 243 yards passing per game. He completes 55 percent of his passes and has a 2/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Leonard is also a threat running the ball as he is second on the Indians with 339 yards rushing. His four rushing touchdowns are tied with Arnold for first on the team.

The Indians are near the top of every major statistical category in the Sun Belt. ASU ranks first in total offense and total defense. The Indians are also first in rushing defense and kickoff returns. Arkansas State ranks in the top three of 22 statistical categories in the Sun Belt.

The Indians do have a few weaknesses, one being penalties. ASU is the most penalized team in the Sun Belt and compile an average of 70 penalty yards per game. The Indians have trouble getting pressure on the quarterback as they have only five sacks on the year, last in the conference.

The Blue Raiders and Indians share a common opponent in Memphis. Both MT and ASU defeated the Tigers but did so in different fashion. The Indians trailed Memphis 31-6 at halftime before rallying to win the game 35-31. The Blue Raiders never trailed and defeated the Tigers 21-7 last weekend.

Each of the remaining games on the Blue Raiders' schedule are Sun Belt Conference games. Middle and ASU are tied for second in the conference with a record of 1-1 making this game a critical one for the Blue Raiders' New Orleans Bowl hopes.

Kickoff for Saturday's game inside Floyd Stadium is set for 2:30 p.m.

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