After tuning up against Western Carolina, Georgia Tech will hit the road to take on Middle Tennessee State. The Blue Raiders were a trendy pick in 2010 to take the Sun Belt Conference crown but those hopes came crashing down the moment that quarterback Dwight Dasher was suspended for his involvement with a booster. Dasher has since exhausted his eligibility and the Blue Raiders are left as a team in transition.
A Closer Look At The Blue Raiders
Coach: Rick Stockstill 33-30 in six seasons at MTSU
Last Season: 6-7, 5-3 Sun Belt, Lost GoDaddy.com Bowl To Miami (Ohio)
Returning Starters: 10 (Seven offensive, three defensive)
Key Players: QB Logan Kilgore, T Mike Williams, LB Darwin Davis
Middle Tennessee State will be one of the less experienced teams in the Sun Belt this season with only 10 starters returning combined on both sides of the ball. There will be depth concerns particularly on defense. Offensively quarterback Logan Kilgore stepped in for Dasher while he was suspended and takes over the offense full time this season. The receiving corps is experienced but wasn't used a lot last season due to the heavy run offense initiated by coach Stockstill. The offensive line has some experience as well and figures to be a positive going into the season.
Defensively Middle Tennessee State will be a work in progress as they try and recover from the loss of Jamari Lattimore and Dwight Smith up front. Lattimore was the Sun Belt's Defensive Player of the Year last season. There is some returning experience at linebacker led by Darin Davis but the secondary is thin as well and how well this unit can get off the field will say a lot as to whether or not they can extend their bowl streak to three seasons.
Georgia Tech won't dismiss this game simply because it is on the road. However, due to the lack of depth up front, Tech's high powered run offense should provide more than MTSU can handle. The Blue Raiders' inexperienced secondary could even provide the opportunity to take a few shots down the field early while going for an early knockout. The important thing for the Yellow Jackets in this game will be to get going early and not let the Blue Raiders hang around which could make an upset much more likely. Tech should get out of this game unscathed and set up a 2-0 start with Kansas visiting Atlanta the next week.