Last week much was made (rightly so) of the LA Tech-North Texas battle that would determine the favorite for the West division. Last night, we saw something similar in the East.
The East was always going to be a question-mark. FAU had so much change, that each program outside of Charlotte felt that they had something like a chance to challenge for the division crown.
Each had a case, but the most vocal were the Marshall fans. The beat writers agreed, and set the Herd as the second-favorite to win the division. It made sense. Doc Holliday is accomplished, the defense is good, and there were a couple of options at QB that may have been slightly more talented than the departing QB.
We were skeptical. So much change is not great for getting the details right. So much of football is about logistics and logistics is about the smallest details.
Last night seemed was about the details. With redshirt freshman QB Isaiah Green out for this one, Alex Thompson, a possible NFL talent stepped in and struggled to move the ball.
The Marshall run game was dominant, but at halftime, MTSU and Rick Stockstill made adjustments — “stop the run, stop getting penalties, run the ball” — while Marshall had no easy way to pass the ball. The run game slowed down and the Herd could not move the ball to keep pace with the Brent Stockstill and his Bue Raiders.
Middle Tennessee has long gone as it’s long-time quarterback goes, and the struggles early this season were perhaps caused by getting used to playing with him at the helm again.
Whatever the case, Middle has a nice hold on the East division race. If you are still skeptical — perhaps a follower of that StockstillOut twitter — there is good reason to be. Marshall looked really good and seemingly helped themselves lose the rest of the way.
Middle looked bullied and Stock had a tough time, with very little time to throw early. Better teams will not let up. The question is, who are those “better” teams? With FAU already beaten, and Marshall dominated, the two preseason tough teams are behind the Blue Raiders.
UAB is the toughest remaining league opponent, and even a loss to the Blazers (very possible) would put Middle in a head-to-head with two teams it has beaten.
MTSU Remaining Schedule
- @FIU 10/13
- Charlotte 10/20
- @ODU 10/27
- WKU 11/2
- @UTEP 11/10
- @Kentucky 11/17
- UAB 11/24
UAB is the only remaining squad that is capable of building a lead, but we have already seen two comebacks from Stockstill’s guys. If they can keep improving and Stockstill stays healthy, the division is theirs to lose.
Current East Standings /*Before 10/6 games