GoDaddy.com Bowl @ Birmingham, Ala.
Middle Tennessee State vs. Miami-Ohio -1.5 O/U 48
January 6, 5 pm PT – ESPN
Down 26-13 in the fourth quarter against Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee looked ready to pack it in for the season. But the Hilltoppers fumbled on the goal line and MTSU ran in back 99 yards for six and then later scored the game winning touchdown. It was that fumble return that propelled the Blue Raiders to victories over Florida Atlantic and Florida International and reach bowl eligibility. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the last nine quarters of the season the MTSU played up to its potential. Miami closed the season with five straight wins including a monumental upset over Northern Illinois (-18.5) in the MAC Championship. The stats for MTSU tell the story of a 6-6 team. Miami went 9-4 and scored only 29 offensive touchdowns while opposing teams scored 39. The line certainly reflects the stats rather than the records.
Rob Veno’s Take:
(Power Rating: Miami-OH -2) You have to respect the way these teams closed the regular season – especially the RedHawks’ surge to the MAC Championship with redshirt freshman backup quarterback Austin Boucher at the helm. All that said, I think MTSU may want this one more. The Blue Raiders had every reason to fold at 3-6 but instead rattled off three straight wins including a 28-27 win over co-Sun Belt champ Florida International in the season finale.
ACCU-STATS: True Rushing Numbers
The market maybe sensing Miami’s win over Northern Illinois was a “bowl victory” has come in on Middle Tennessee.
What the local media is saying:
Miami head coach Mike Haywood sensing his team may not be getting the proper respect
: "I hear everybody's picking Middle Tennessee State. I have no idea, but that's the same game we've played all year. We haven't been picked (to win) in one game all year, so that's a good thing. The guys are starting to believe in themselves and believe in their teammates and trust in themselves and trust in their teammates, and we're playing a little bit better each and every week."