FIU -2 1.1% FREE PLAY
FIU has the better defense, and the better running game, and that sort of thing usually travels on the road. Middle Tennessee is also banged up as they lost their top defensive player in Reed Blankenship who is going to be very hard for the Blue Raiders to replace. FIU meanwhile has gained a top defensive player in Alexy Jean-Baptise who is a P5 transfer making an impact since gaining eligibility he leads the teams in sacks and tackles for loss in just 4g played.
FIU runs the ball 60% of the time, and they face a team ranking 112th in run defense that has given up 200+ yards in all of their games with the exception of their last game. They rank 112th in run defense and have faced an average opponent ranking 70th in rushing offense. FIU ranks 38th in yards per carry and feature 3 talented running backs, and an experienced Sr. QB in James Morgan who is at full strength and does not turn the ball over. FIU ranks 9th in protection, and is going up against a team that does not pose a threat ranking 122nd at getting to the QB. The 3 losses that FIU has on the season came to teams with a combined record of 16-5, and those 5 losses from those teams were against Memphis, Auburn, TExas, Louisville, and a weird one to Central Arkansas. So they lost against some very good teams while MTSU is 2-5 coming into this game in a season they were supposed to have a down year. Their win at home against Marshall was impressive, but a closer look reveals they were -177 yards in that game, but benefitted from 4 turnovers. FIU ranks 25th in TO margin, while Marshall ranks 86th. FIU has a very similar style offense with similar strengths and rankings vs. very similar opponent averages. I think FIU can put up 500+ yards in this one, and not turn the ball over as they cruise a win by more than a TD.
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