Middle Tennessee 38 ... at Memphis 31

Posted Oct 1, 2011

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Memphis at Middle Tennessee

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 5 - Memphis at Middle Tenn.

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(AP) MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Logan Kilgore threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Amos with 11 seconds left to help Middle Tennessee win its first game of the season, defeating Memphis 38-31 on Saturday night.

The game was close for much of the contest. Middle Tennessee took a 31-24 lead when Malcolm Beyah recovered a fumble for a score with 3:14 left in the fourth quarter.

Memphis tied the game less than 2 minutes later after Taylor Reed connected with Keiwone Malone for a 23-yard touchdown. But the Blue Raiders (1-3) answered with Kilgore's game-winning touchdown pass to Amos.

Kilgore completed 27 of 41 passes for 277 yards, threw for three touchdowns and had one interception. D.D. Kyles finished with 105 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown, Beyah caught six passes for 82 yards and had two touchdown catches.

Billy Foster rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers (1-4).

Memphis (1-3) at Middle Tennessee (0-3) Oct. 1, 7:00, ESPN3

Here's The Deal … Last season was a rough one for Memphis, which finished the year with just one win, but that lone victory came against in-state nemesis Middle Tennessee. The two teams get together again, this time in Murfreesboro, where the Blue Raiders own a 9-2 record all-time in the series. The home field should provide the advantage for MTSU, as the team will be looking for payback after the 24-17 defeat in Memphis last season.

The Blue Raiders are still looking for their first win in the 2011 campaign after a couple of very close defeats to Troy and Purdue sandwiched around the blowout loss to Georgia Tech. They're hoping a matchup with the woebegone Tigers will provide the perfect remedy to their unfortunate start to the year.

Why Memphis Might Win: Even though Memphis lost 42-0 to SMU last week, the Tigers were able to force four turnovers in the game. The Tigers recovered three fumbles and had an interception against the Mustangs. On the season, Memphis is averaging a +1 in turnover margin, which ranks 13th in the country. This sets up perfectly for this game because so far this season the Blue Raiders rank 85th in turnover margin at -.33 per game. If the offense can start capitalizing on the opportunities handed to them by the defense, Memphis may be able to finally put some points on the board and hang with the Blue Raiders for four quarters.

Why Middle Tennessee Might Win: Middle Tennessee has done a great job this season at protecting the quarterback, allowing only two sacks through three games. Against a weak Memphis pass rush, QB Logan Kilgore should be able to survey the field and throw for at least 300 yards. The Blue Raiders are averaging 314 passing yards per game, and even though the defense has been absolutely terrible they'll still be able to outscore Memphis if it turns into a shootout.

What To Watch Out For: Benny Cunningham. The Blue Raiders running back does not get as much publicity as he deserves since the passing game draws all of the attention, but he has quietly put together a very impressive start to this season. In the last game against Troy, he rushed for 117 yards and also had a 37-yard reception for a touchdown. If Memphis drops too many defenders into coverage, Cunningham should be able to have a career-day rushing the football.

What Will Happen: Memphis has really struggled across the board since Larry Porter became the head coach last season. The Tigers appear to have regressed even further in 2011, and even a matchup against a Swiss cheese defense, like the Blue Raiders, will not be enough to get them back on the right track. MTSU should be able to score in bunches as long as the Blue Raiders do not shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers. They'll get revenge for last year's dreadful performance in Memphis and beat the Tigers handily.

CFN Prediction: Middle Tennessee 41 … Memphis 17
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Middle Tennessee -22.5   O/U: 59

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