Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (3-4,2-5 ATS) at Arkansas State Red Wolves (3-5, 6-2 ATS), Week 10 NCAA Football, Tuesday November 2nd, 7:00PM Eastern ASU Stadium Jonesboro, Arkansas
By Jay Horne, Professional Sports Handicapper of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: MTSU -1.5/Ark St. +1.5
Over/Under Total: 58.5
Tuesday Night College Football action returns this week with a Sun Belt Conference showdown when the Arkansas State Red Wolves host the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. The Red Wolves had just 4 wins for the entire 2009 season, but they will have a chance to reach that mark if they can take down the Blue Raiders on Tuesday. Middle Tennessee State reached their first 10 win season in school history last season, but they have had a tough time so far in 2010 with just a 3-4 mark on the season. However, the Blue Raiders still have some favorable games left on the schedule and they will need to some keys wins to close out the season if they are going to reach a postseason Bowl Game.
Despite returning 15 starters from the Blue Raiders huge 2009 campaign, they have had a lot of problems mainly on the offensive side of the ball. QB Dwight Dasher threw for 23 touchdowns last season, but has only managed 2 passing touchdowns total thus far in 2010. Dasher has completed just 58% while throwing 6 picks on the season as well. Dasher has been the starter for the last 3 games. Before, QB Logan Kilgore was the guy leading the offense but he was removed from those duties after a rough start that included 5 picks in his first 3 games. Therefore, Dasher will again be the man trying to revive the struggling pass offense that has averaged just 214 yards per game this season.
Instead, the Blue Raiders rush offense has been the strength of their ball movement so far this season. Veteran tailbacks Phillip Tanner and D.D Kyles have combined for 10 touchdowns on the season. Both backs are also carrying the ball for over 5 yards per carry. Tanner leads the team with 453 yards with the most carries on the season while Kyles will get his share of touches as well. The Red Wolves have one of the worse defenses in all of college football ranking 116th allowing 452 yards per game. Therefore, I would expect Dasher to take some shots down field to wide outs Malcolm Beyah and Garrett Andrews. However if the passing attack is not able to make plays, expect their strong running duo to get plenty of carries before the night ends.
On the Arkansas State offensive side of the football, they have put up pretty solid numbers for a team that most are unfamiliar with. The Red Wolves rank inside the top 50 in terms of total yards averaging 403 per game. The passing offense ranks 27th in America behind QB Ryan Aplin. Aplin has completed 60% passing for 2074 yards with 13 touchdowns and 7 picks. The passing attack has been fueled by the emergence of WR Allen Muse. Muse has caught 27 passes for 463 yards with 3 touchdowns this season averaging 17.1 yards per catch. Muse has been the biggest surprise to the offense and has aided in their ability to score quickly.
Also, WR Dwayne Frampton is a go to receiver having caught 46 passes this season for 473 yards. The offense likes the get the ball to Frampton often since he is a playmaker with the ball in his hands. The Red Wolves are not much of a rushing team, but do not be surprised to see QB Ryan Aplin tuck the ball away and use his legs to move the chains either. Aplin has some decent speed so if the play breaks down he is capable of keeping the play alive so that will be something fun to watch. However, the Red Wolves also must keep control of the football which has been their Achilles Heel this season. In Arkansas State’s 5 losses this season they have given the ball away 14 times. In the Red Wolves 3 victories this season, they have only given the ball away 3 times and that will be a major factor in deciding the outcome again this Tuesday.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’ve seen both teams play this season and I really believe the Blue Raiders are a much better team. The Red Wolves simply can not stop anyone. I would expect the Blue Raiders to make some passing plays in this one to score quickly, but even if that does not happen they can control the tempo of the game with their rushing offense as well. Take the Blue Raiders to beat the spread.