|Last week, the MTSU football team lost another close game at Troy 38-35 to drop them to 0-3 on the season. Now it’s time for homecoming as the Blue Raiders host in-state rival Memphis on Saturday.
“It is frustrating to be that close and not be able to grab the prize,” MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill said. “I want so badly for this team to experience that success and achieve their goals.”
The Blue Raiders face a Memphis team that is 1-3 on the young season, but is coming off a 42-0 loss against SMU last Saturday. However, the Tigers had to deal with injuries in key positions including starting quarterback. Starter Andy Summerlin was injured in the first game, and freshman Taylor Reed has took control of the team. So far, he has thrown for 721 yards and four touchdowns. In total, 15 freshmen have made the Tiger lineup this season.
Changes have also been made to the defensive side of the ball for Memphis. After giving up 49 points each in the Tigers first two games. Memphis head coach Larry Porter fired defensive coordinator Jay Hopson and replaced him with Mike DuBose and Galen Scott as co-coordinators. The Memphis defense has responded even through the Tigers was blown out last week. UM forced five fumbles and recovered three. Also, senior linebacker Terrance Thomas had a career-best 13 stops.
As for the Blue Raiders, the team is looking for revenge after last year’s 24-17 loss at Memphis. That was the only win for the Tigers last season. Stockstill said he is looking for a better performance in this year’s showdown between the schools.
“I was embarrassed with the way we played last year,” Stockstill said. “You want to play better, and we are going to do that.”
Blue Raider sophomore quarterback Logan Kilgore is back this year after a poor performance against the Tigers last season. He was 16-for-26 for 161 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw three picks in the loss. In fairness, Kilgore had missed the previous game against Austin Peay.
This season, Kilgore leads a Blue Raider offense that ranked 23rd in the nation in total offense, averaging 461 yards a game. Both his teammates and coaches agree that Kilgore has matured as a player in the past year.
“Plan and simple, he has got a swagger to him now,” senior Brandon McLeroy said.
At the same time, the MTSU offense knows they got to finish drives, according to McLeroy. “We haven’t finished well this year. Nine times inside the 30 and we have not scored. That is unacceptable. That is something we going to work on and get done.”
MTSU is just looking for a win before the meat of the SBC conference schedule starts next Thursday against Western Kentucky, especially after two close losses to begin the season.
“Our start so far has been a little disappointing, and we hope to come out better than this, but it’s not discouraging at all,” senior offensive lineman Mike Williams said. “We know we got the talent, we just need to fix a few things.”
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Saturday and the game will be shown online on ESPN3.com.