MTSU's trigger man returning just in time

MTSU's trigger man returning just in time

Even without Brent Stockstill for the better part of November, Middle Tennessee’s offense moved the ball extremely well. Now that the redshirt sophomore signal-caller’s back at the controls, the Blue Raiders figure to enjoy their trip to Honolulu that much more.

The Conference USA stalwarts take on the host Rainbow Warriors tonight in the Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Online sports book BetDSI opened the visitors as 4.5-point favorites over Nick Rolovich’s group. The over/under is set at 72.

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Hoping to erase the sting of last year’s Bahamas Bowl loss to Western Michigan, MTSU (8-4) certainly boasts enough firepower to prevail on the Big Island. The school averaged just over 40 points per contest, posting the fourth-best red-zone percentage in the FBS along the way. Middle Tennessee also racked up 757 total yards in a 77-56 trouncing of Florida Atlantic to close the regular season.

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Stockstill didn’t get to partake in such fun down the stretch. Prior to suffering a broken collarbone on Nov. 5, however, he threw for 2,801 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing almost 64 percent of his passes. By all accounts, the Murfreesboro native looked good during the week in practice.

On the other end of the spectrum, weaknesses abound for the Rainbow Warriors (6-7). They’re one of three sub-.500 programs that will be competing in a bowl game. In addition to surrendering 37.5 points a tilt, Hawaii has a -11 turnover margin.

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Perhaps quarterback Dru Brown can replicate his recent performance vs. Massachusetts, when he tossed a career-high five TDs. Nevertheless, we’re very bullish on the Blue Raiders. Expect Stockstill and his fabulous array of receivers to run wild.

SATURDAY NCAA PICK: MIDDLE TENNESSEE -7.5

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