Key Players for MTSU Game

A few players from both teams will be making their first career starts on Thursday. Two of those players will need to play well in order to help their team win.

Key Player Minnesota:

Redshirt freshman Ed Olson will be starting his first game for the Maroon and Gold and he will be counted on to protect the blind side of Adam Weber against a push rush that generated nearly three sacks per game, which ranked eighth nationally. Minnesota struggled to protect quarterback last season ranking 113 in the nation in sacks allowed per game. The 6-foot-7 tackle will need to lock down his side of the line to allow Weber the time to look downfield and make smart choices with the ball.

Key Player for Middle Tennessee State:

Quarterback Logan Kilgore will need to manage the offense and maintain his composure during his first start for the Blue Raiders. The 6-foot-3 Kilgore arrived on campus in January as a mid-term signee and demonstrated his ability in Middle Tennessee's spring game completing 21 of 34 passes for 322 yards. Kilgore does have some experience leading a team on a collegiate level. As a freshman at Bakersfield College in California, he threw for 2,512 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2009 to lead Bakersfield to a 10-2 record.

Key Matchup:
One matchup to watch will be Blue Raider's defensive end Jamari Lattimore against massive right tackle, Jeff Willis of Minnesota. The 6-foot-7, 350-pound Wills outweighs the 6-foot-3 Lattimore by 119 pounds which should give an advantage to the Golden Gopher rushing attack when they run right. To counter Wills' strength, Lattimore will need to use his quickness off the ball to get in the backfield and disrupt the offense. Lattimore proved adept at making plays behind the line finishing with 9.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and six quarterback hurries in 2009.

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