MTSU linebacker Roderic Blount makes a hit on a North Texas receiver during the Oct. 19, 2013, game in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Photo courtesy of MTSU Athletics).
MTSU’s football team is in the midst of a three-game losing streak going into tonight’s Blackout game against Marshall.
Meanwhile, the Thundering Herd rolls in with a 4-2 overall record and a 2-0 mark in Conference USA. The Blue Raiders are 3-4 overall and 1-2 in league play.
From a confidence standpoint, one can certainly wonder where the Blue Raiders are at this point in the season.
“I have no doubt about the character of this team,” MTSU coach Rick Stockstill said. “I have no doubt of the resiliency of this football team. Their toughness and competitive spirit will not waver. Are you going to win the conference? It’s going to be tough, as you’re two back with five to go. If you’re a baseball team, you would still say you’ve got a chance.
“We’ve got a chance, but we need some help. There’s a lot out there from a bowl standpoint. There’s still a lot of meat on the bone, and still a lot to play for. I have no doubt about the attitude this team will come back with this week.”
Marshall boasts an offense averaging more than 36 points a game, as well as quarterback Rakeem Cato, who has thrown for 1,572 yards and 12 touchdowns in six games.
“He’s not afraid to make any throw,” Stockstill said. “He’ll throw deep a bunch. They’ll challenge our secondary. He’s athletic enough to buy some time and extend plays. He’ll hit receivers down the field on scramble plays.
“He’s a better runner than he gets credit for. He’s got some good, dynamic receivers to throw to that make things happen after the catch.
He’s got a big arm, he’s accurate and he’s not afraid to take shots down the field.”
The Blue Raiders have scored just 34 points during their three-game losing streak. Coming off a bye week, Stockstill hopes his team will be more healthy for tonight’s game.
“We’ve got to get healthy. That’s the biggest concern right now,”
Stockstill said. “We’ve got to be able to run the ball better than we have, no matter what offensive line and backs we put out there. We’ve tackled well defensively up until this game. We didn’t tackle well Saturday against North Texas.
“We looked a step slow, and we looked like a tired football team, even though we did play better in the second half defensively. We need to continue to get better defensively on third downs. I think those three issues, and improving some issues in the kicking game, have to get better in the open date.”
MTSU will don all black uniforms as part of tonight’s promotion.
“I always tell them, the uniform isn’t going to score a point or keep them out of the end zone,” Stockstill said. “They like the black uniforms. They get excited. The trend in college football is different uniforms, different helmets and that sort of thing. I think it plays a great role in recruiting. I think it plays a great role in your team getting excited.”