Vanderbilt Opponent #5: MTSU Blue Raiders

Vanderbilt hosts neighboring Middle Tennessee State University for the fifth game of the season. VandyMania gives an early scouting report on the Blue Raiders and makes a prediction on the game's outcome. This is the fifth in a series of 11 evaluations of Vanderbilt's 2005 opponents.

Date: October 1, 2005
Site: Vanderbilt Stadium

Middle Tennessee

Head coach: Andy McCollum (30-38 at MTSU)

2004 Record: 5-6, 4-4 CONF

Top Returnees:

OFFENSE: QB Clint Marks, Jr.; FB Nick McAfee, Sr.; TB Eugene Gross (photo right), Jr.; WR Chris Henry, Sr.; LT Willie Hall, Jr.; LG Brandon Nix, So.; C Marcus Gates, Jr.; RG Brian Smith, Sr.

DEFENSE: LE Devarick Scandrett, Sr.; NG Jeff Littlejohn, Sr.; DT Quinton Staton, Sr.; LB Tavares Jones, So.; LB Marcel Horne, Jr.; S Jeremiah Weaver, Sr.; CB Keon Raymond, Sr.

2004 Results

Sept. 11 Akron, W 31-24
Sept. 18 Florida Atlantic, L 27-20
Sept. 25 at Louisiana-Lafayette, 24-17
Oct. 2 at North Texas, L 30-21
Oct. 9 Arkansas State, W 45-17
Oct. 16 at Florida, L 52-16
Oct. 23 Idaho, W 34-14
Oct. 30 Utah State, W 21-0
Nov. 6 at New Mexico State, L 44-10
Nov. 13 Louisiana-Monroe, W 37-24
Nov. 20 at Troy, L 37-17


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2005 Schedule

Sep 3 at Alabama
Sep 10 North Texas
Sep 17 Akron
Oct 1 at Vanderbilt
Oct 15 at Florida Atlantic
Oct 22 Louisiana-Lafayette
Oct 29 at Florida International
Nov 5 Arkansas State
Nov 12 Louisiana-Monroe
Nov 19 at North Carolina State
Nov 26 at Troy

MTSU Statistics

Category.................NCAA ... AVG
Rushing Offense .........101..... 106.55   
Passing Offense .........15...... 267.73 
Total Offense ...........57...... 374.27     
Scoring Offense .........66...... 24.45   
Rushing Defense .........45...... 138.82   
Passing Defense .........112..... 150.48      
Total Defense ...........86...... 412.27     
Scoring Defense .........68...... 26.64   
Turnover Margin..........94...... -.55   
Net Punting .............75...... 34.71    

REMARKS: Quarterback Clint Marks who passed for over 2,700 yards in 2004 returns to lead the Raider offense. Senior wide receiver Chris Henry caught 60 receptions for 586 yards last season. Tailback Eugene Gross is dangerous. Defensive lineman Jeff Littlejohn returns to lead the defense after registering 17 tackles, including 1.5 stops for losses.

EARLY PREDICTION: Vandy lost the last two bitter meetings with MTSU in 2001 and 2002. Now after two Blue Raider down years where the two teams didn't play, MTSU is picked to win the Sun Belt and they are back on Vandy's schedule. This will be a tough game for Vandy. The excuse that Vandy can't get up for MTSU is inexcusable. These guys are only 25 miles down the road and are working hard to steal the fans in Vandy's back yard. The Blue Raiders are well coached and posess good talent. Overlooking them could be deadly but then again MTSU might overlook Vandy too. However, the SEC's 5th place team should be able to edge the Sun Belt Champions. It'll be hard fought but Vandy SHOULD prevail.

Vanderbilt 27
MTSU 23


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