FIU Football vs Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Game Preview

FIU Football Middle Tennessee

Miami, FL – With bowl game hopes out the window for FIU, we move on to the final week of the FIU Football season against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, who have already clinched bowl eligibility off a huge win against Florida Atlantic. FIU will celebrate Senior Night as three seniors will play their final game in their FIU jerseys. These seniors include Dorian Hall, Davon Strickland, and Kyan Brumfield. “Last one is a bittersweet moment. Just trying to hold in all the tears” said Hall when asked about playing his final game in FIU.

Key Notes

  1. The game will be aired on ESPN3 with AJ Ricketts (play-by-play) and Johnathan Cyprien (color analyst) on
    the call.
  2. The game can also be heard on Miami’s WQBA 1140 AM.
  3. Saturday’s game will mark the annual “Senior Day” game with the Panthers expected to
    honor a total of three seniors prior to the contest, including defensive backs Dorian Hall
    and Kyan Brumfield, along with defensive lineman Davon Strickland.
  4. FIU will be looking for its fifth win of the 2022 campaign when it faces the Blue Raiders
    on Saturday evening – which would match its best single-season total since posting
    six in 2019.
  5. Saturday’s game will mark the 18th consecutive season that the Panthers have faced
    Middle Tennessee – dating back to 2005. The Blue Raiders lead the all-time series 12-5.
    They have won each of the last three meetings between the programs and six of the last
    seven overall.
  6. The Panthers (4-7, 2-5 C-USA) have dropped their last three games at North Texas, at
    home against Florida Atlantic and at UTEP, following wins in their previous two contests
    at Charlotte and vs. Louisiana Tech.
  7. Middle Tennessee enters Saturday’s tilt 6-5 overall and 3-4 in Conference USA action.
    The Blue Raiders have won their last two games over Charlotte and Florida Atlantic.

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

The Blue Raiders can be described as one of the most complete teams in Conference USA. Although they are pass-heavy, you can never doubt running back Frank Peasant who has led the team in rushing yards (692) by a wide margin. Coach MacIntyre spoke a little bit about Peasant and described him as “Physical and a hard runner.” Quarterback Chase Cunningham is one of the top QBs in Conference USA and has been phenomenal with 2,641 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. “Wouldn’t you call him a playmaker?”, said Coach MacIntyre when asked about the Blue Raiders quarterback. He followed it up by mentioning the many attributes that Cunningham brings to the table. The Middle Tennessee wide receiver core is also one of the most complete and balanced groups with the number of targets and production you see on a week-to-week basis. Jaylin Lane and Izaiah Gathings lead the charge in the wide receiver core.

MTSU Standouts

When asking the coach about some of the players that stand out to him on the Middle Tennessee Roster he mentioned wide receiver Jaylin Lane and DJ England-Chisolm as two wideouts “that can fly”. Lane is having a great season with 769 receiving yards, which leads the team. England-Chisolm has 322 receiving yards on the season. Coach also mentioned how defensively Middle Tennessee is “really active.” Coach goes on to specify who stands out to him on defense with Jordan Ferguson who is 6’2″, 271 pounds. Ferguson this season has 6.5 sacks, 27 solo tackles, and two forced fumbles. Coach MacIntyre also mentioned that Ferguson is someone that “harasses the passer a lot.” Finally, coach mentions some of their secondary who are extremely active and “flies around a lot.”

Middle Tennessee looks to finish off the season with a 7-5 record, but the question would be how many of their starters will sit out. With a bowl game coming up for Middle Tennessee, you really have to be unsure if they are going to risk what is considered a meaningless game for them and throw out all of their starters.

Player Spotlight: Dorian Hall

Dorian Hall is a Hollywood, Florida native who went to South Broward Highschool. Dorian has been with FIU for the past six years. This includes three bowl appearances, being a part of the most wins in program history, and also being part of the losing portion in recent FIU Football history. “I didn’t think it would have ended so fast”, said Dorian Hall when speaking to the media on Tuesday. Hall spoke about being in FIU for the ups and downs of the program but feels confident about where he is leaving the program.

When coach MacIntyre was asked about Dorian Hall he mentioned that he has only known him for about 10 months. “He loves football, I mean he truly loves it”, said MacIntyre when talking about Dorian Hall. MacIntyre says that Hall has been a big inspiration to him and wishes that he goes to the NFL. Hall this season has had 12 solo tackles and two interceptions. He has been by far one of the top FIU cornerbacks in the past couple of years.

Keys to the Game:

Offense:

  1. Give Grayson James time to pass the ball. Middle Tennessee has one of the better pass-rush attacks in Conference USA, so protecting Grayson James is a must. Although, it will be a difficult task with the banged-up, young and inexperienced offensive line that FIU currently has.
  2. Find a balance of passing and running the ball. FIU always seems to rely on one side of the offense and usually it is the run game. If FIU can find a balance between the pass and run game then this should be smooth sailing.

Defense:

  1. Do whatever it takes to go after Chase Cunningham.
  2. Force the run game, but be able to stop it.

Game Prediction and MVP

FIU MVP: Lexington “Flex” Joseph

Blue Raiders MVP: Frank Peasant

Final Score: MT 35, FIU 21

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