Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders vs. Georgia Bulldogs Game Pick
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
College Football Week 3
When: Saturday, September 15th 2018 –7:15 PM ET
Where: Sanford Stadium – Athens, Georgia
By: Keith Franks, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Spread: Middle Tennessee State +31 / Georgia -31
The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders and the Georgia Bulldogs square off in a Conference USA versus SEC clash scheduled for Saturday, September 15th, 2018. The game will take place “Between The Hedges”, live from the Classic City known as Athens, Georgia. This contest will be a primetime affair and will be televised on ESPN with a kick-off time of 7:15 PM ET. Middle Tennessee State and Georgia last met in 2003 in Athens when the Dawgs would defeat the Blue Raiders by a score of 29-10. The Dawgs failed to cover a 33-point line that day when David Greene was the quarterback of UGA and he had the likes of Reggie Brown and Fred Gibson lining up split-wide. Heading into this contest, the Dawgs have won 15 of their last 17 matches while Middle Tennessee State has also posted a 3-1 SU record in their previous four outings.
The Blue Raiders come into this contest off a win at home against a cross-state foe in Tennessee-Martin after being drubbed by Vanderbilt in its season opener, MTSU responded with a lovely 61-37 win covering a 19-point line in the process. Middle Tennessee’s highly-regarded field general QB Brent Stockstill led the way with a masterful 25 for 34, five touchdowns, and 407 passing yard performance. The play of Stockstill has been cited by many pundits as what can drive MTSU to vie for the Conference-USA crown in 2018 as a potential dark horse.
The strong point of Middle Tennessee State’s game as highlighted rests in their passing attack. We mentioned quarterback Brent Stockstill but there are also other weapons at MTSU’s disposal, including the return of an excellent wide receiver in Ty Lee who nearly compiled 1,000 yards of receiving in 2017. The Blue Raiders also return a duo of rushers that combined for 1,200 all-purpose yards and 12 scores in the preceding campaign. After finishing 7-6 in 2017, the Blue Raiders have established a model of consistency in producing winning campaigns in each of their last five seasons.
The Bulldog Nation enter in off a beat down of an old divisional foe, the Gamecocks of South Carolina. In what many suspected to be a game that could place the #3 Dawgs on upset alert, Coach Kirby Smart and company answered the call. We saw UGA close as an 8.5-point favorite after the public smothered USC as a double-digit dog. However, the Dawgs would roll over Cocky by a score of 41-17. In the aforementioned contest, the Red and Black controlled all aspects of the game. USC’s best player Deebo Samuel was held to just 25 yards of offense and the Bulldog Nations’ fabled stable of running backs accrued for 273 rushing yards and three touchdowns in route to the win.
As a whole, the University of Georgia has to be happy with the way the culture has changed in the last two seasons. We have seen UGA piece together the top recruiting class in America in 2018 and seemingly are on the way to do so again for 2019. Lest us also forget that the Dawgs also won the Southeastern Conference Championship, earned a College Football Playoff berth, won the Rose Bowl, and came within a play of a National Championship in the 2017-18 campaign. Very simply, recent events have been a dream come true for the Bulldog faithful.
Playing chalk has its numerous disadvantages but in this case, swallowing the points with the Dawgs are the way to go here. Last week, the Bulldog Nation looked like a team on a mission. They took a South Carolina team that won nine games in 2017 and made them look pedestrian. Sure, Middle Tennessee State may have some offensive weapons but the Bulldogs have some monsters of the defensive side of the football to shut them down.
The most notable standout is lock-down corner DeAndre Baker who will be shadowing MTSU’s Lee throughout the course of the game. When you combine this with ballhawks Richard LeCounte and J.R. Reed over the top with a deep and ferocious pass rush, the Blue Raiders will venture Between The Hedges and leave with nightmares. If MTSU’s performance against Vanderbilt (A 35-7 blowout loss) is any litmus test of how this team will fare against SEC competition, this one has rout written all over it.