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Scouting Michigan’s match-up: Middle Tennessee State

Does Middle Tennessee have the talent to keep the game close against Michigan?

NCAA Football: New Orleans Bowl-Middle Tennessee at Appalachian State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Middle Tennessee is coming off an 8-6 season and another bowl appearance, which has become a recent trend. Things won’t be easy for the Blue Raiders in Week 1 when they head to The Big House to take on Michigan.

Here’s a scouting report and stat watch for Middle Tennessee.

Played poorly against their top competition in 2018

It was all Georgia from the opening whistle . The game ended 49-7, but the game was already over at halftime with Georgia up 42-7. Jake Fromm went 10-of-12 for 128 yards and TD’s, and backup Justin Fields was 6-of-8 for 71 yards and a TD.

A 65 yard reception and 56 yard rushing TD transpired, they had a punt return TD, and Georgia ended the day with 484 total yards.

During the game, Georgia was faster, stronger, and more fundamentally sound.

The Blue Raiders struggled across the board, and an area worth noting where they did was containing the quarterback. In the second quarter during a designed pass play, Fields decided to run and he sliced his way through the defense and into the endzone for 20-plus yard TD.

Looking at Middle Tennessee’s film against Georgia is the closest we can get to judging how they’d play against a Power 5 opponents. Further, Georgia and Michigan had similar seasons in 2018 and the talent gap between the two squads isn’t far off. It’s a new year with new possibilities for Middle Tennessee, but with Michigan’s new offense likely to feature more deep shots down the field and QB runs, we could be shaping up to see a blowout by the end of the first half.

Ty Lee is a weapon that needs to be accounted for

Ty Lee is the type of wideout that has given Michigan fits in recent years and games. Lee is short at 5-foot-9, but he’s a shifty speedster that can really make things happen in open space.

Lee has been a steady contributor ever since his freshman season. Through three seasons, Lee has 213 receptions for 2,537 yards and 21 TD’s.

Even if this game winds up a whooping, Lee will be a good test for Michigan early in the year. Michigan’s defense needs to bottle up wideouts that can do damage with shallow crossers and slant routes.

Middle Tennessee’s woes vs Power 5 opponents

- The Blue Raiders have not been fortunate when taking on the Power 5, losing their last 7 season openers against Power 5 opponents.

- Head coach Rick Stockstill is just 6-29 versus the Power 5. To make matters worse, he is 2-11 in road openers.

- Middle Tennessee is 0-7 all-time versus the Big Ten.

2018 Middle Tennessee rankings

  • Total Offense: 73rd
  • Total Defense: 62nd
  • Passing Efficiency: 30th
  • Passing Yards Allowed: 52nd
  • 3rd Down Conversion Pct: 76th
  • Passes Intercepted: 16th
  • Red Zone Defense: 28th
  • Red Zone Offense: 44th
  • Scoring Defense: 62nd
  • Scoring Offense: 76th
  • Team Sacks: 40th
  • Passing Yards per Completion: 113th