MTSU, Rice to play three Power 5 opponents in 2019

MTSU football coach Rick Stockstill's Blue Raiders will play three Power 5 opponents -- Michigan, Duke and Iowa -- this season. FILE

MTSU's and Rice's football teams are the only Conference USA members who will play three non-conference games against Power 5 conference opponents in 2019.

The Blue Raiders, who went 8-6 last season and lost 27-25 in the C-USA championship game, also played three Power 5 opponents in 2018, losing 35-7 at Vanderbilt, 49-7 at Georgia and 34-23 at Kentucky.

"We play, year in and year out, the hardest schedule in our conference," MTSU coach Rick Stockstill said. "Us and (Texas) San Antonio were the only two to play three Power 5s last year, and only two of us are this year.

"That's why I'm so proud of our players and coaches for what we've done here with the schedule we play. We have still been successful, going to bowl games and playing for a (league) championship last year. The schedule makers haven't done us any favors this year and we've got a tough row to hoe."

MTSU faces another daunting challenge this season as it will play at Michigan Aug. 31, Duke at home on Sept. 14 and at Iowa Sept. 28. The Blue Raiders also play Tennessee State in their home opener on Sept. 7.

"Michigan is a top 5 team and Iowa will be a top 10 or 15 team," Stockstill said. "When I was at Clemson we played Duke all the time and you kind of looked forward to that one.

"What (Duke coach) David Cutcliffe has done at Duke is incredible. Now Duke has changed how people think about them. They have really good players and they had the No. 6 pick taken in the NFL draft. Tennessee State, they've done a great job. They took Vanderbilt to the wire last year. Again, it's a tough schedule that we'll start out with."

C-USA NON-CONFERENCE SCHDULES

EAST DIVISIOIN

CHARLOTTE

8/29: Gardner Webb

9/7: at Appalachian State

9/14: UMass

9/21 at Clemson

FIU

8/29: at Tulane

9/14: New Hampshire

10/5: UMass

11/23: Miami (Fla.)

FAU

8/31: at Ohio State

9/7: UCF

9/14: at Ball State

9/21: Wagner

MARSHALL

8//31: VMI

9/6: at Boise State

9/14: Ohio

9/28: Cincinnati

MTSU

8/31: at Michigan

9/7: Tennessee State

9/14: Duke

9/28: at Iowa

OLD DOMINION

8/31: Norfolk State

9/7: at Virginia Tech

9/21: at Virginia

9/28: East Carolina

WESTERN KENTUCKY

8/28: Central Arknsas

9/14: Louisiville (Nashville)

10/12: Army

11/9: at Arkansas

WEST DIVISION

LA TECH

8/31: at Texas

9/7: Grambling State

9/14: at Bowling Green

10/12: UMass

NORTH TEXAS

8/31: Abilene Christian

9/7: at SMU

9/14: at California

9/28: Houston

RICE

8/30: at Army

9/6: Wake Forest

9/14: Texas (in Houston)

9/21: Baylor

SOUTHERN MISS

8/31: Alcorn State

9/7: at Mississippi State

9/14: at Troy

9/21: at Alabama

UAB

8/29: at Alabama State

9/7: at Akron

9/21: South Alabama

11/2: at Tennessee

UTEP

8/31: Houston Baptist

9/7: at Texas Tech

9/21: Nevada

11/23: at New Mexico State

UTSA

8/31: Incarnate Word

9/7: at Baylor

9/14: Army

9/21: at Texas A&M

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