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The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (1-3) play on Thursday at 7:30 PM ET at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (2-2).
The Hilltoppers are expected to win by at least a touchdown (currently -8) versus the Blue Raiders. The over/under for this matchup is 60.5 points.
Game Info for Western Kentucky vs. Middle Tennessee
- Game Day: Thursday, September 28, 2023
- Game Time: 7:30 PM ET
- TV Channel: CBS Sports Network
- Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
- Stadium: Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium
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Western Kentucky Pick Insights
- Western Kentucky has covered the spread twice in three games this season.
- When it has played as at least 8-point favorites this season, Western Kentucky is 1-0 against the spread.
- Western Kentucky has combined with its opponent to hit the over in one of three games with a set total (33.3%).
Western Kentucky Stats & Insights
- Despite having a bottom-25 defense that ranks sixth-worst in the FBS (497.8 yards allowed per game), Western Kentucky has played better on offense, ranking 85th in the FBS offensively averaging 367.5 yards per game.
- Despite having a bottom-25 scoring defense that ranks 18th-worst in the FBS (34 points allowed per game), Western Kentucky has put up better results offensively, ranking 54th in the FBS by averaging 31.8 points per game.
- Western Kentucky sports the 30th-ranked passing offense this season (281.5 passing yards per game), and has been less effective on the other side of the ball, ranking 22nd-worst with 271.5 passing yards allowed per game.
- With 86 offensive rushing yards per game (11th-worst) and 226.3 rushing yards allowed per game on defense (eighth-worst), Western Kentucky has been struggling on both sides of the ball this year in the running game.
- With a 32.7% third-down conversion rate (17th-worst) and a 47.5% third-down rate allowed on defense (16th-worst), Western Kentucky has been getting outplayed on both sides of the ball this year in terms of third-down efficiency.
- With 11 forced turnovers (second in the FBS) against six turnovers committed (69th in the FBS), Western Kentucky’s +5 turnover margin is the seventh-best in college football.
Western Kentucky’s Best Players
- Austin Reed has recorded 1,064 yards (266 ypg) on 100-of-159 passing with nine touchdowns compared to one interception this season. In addition, he’s added 47 rushing yards (11.8 ypg) on 17 carries while scoring two touchdowns on the ground.
- The team’s top rusher, Davion Ervin-Poindexter, has carried the ball 21 times for 101 yards (25.3 per game).
- Markese Stepp has carried the ball 21 times for 88 yards (22 per game) and one touchdown.
- Malachi Corley has hauled in 21 receptions for 255 yards (63.8 yards per game) to lead the team so far this season. He’s found the end zone two times as a receiver.
- Easton Messer has put up a 237-yard season so far with two touchdowns, hauling in 18 passes on 21 targets.
- Blue Smith has hauled in 10 receptions for 118 yards, an average of 29.5 yards per game. He’s scored one time as a receiver this season.
- Kendrick Simpkins paces the team with four sacks, and also has four TFL and 15 tackles.
- Talique Allen is the team’s top-tackler this year. He’s amassed 20 tackles.
- Aaron Key has picked off a team-leading one pass. He also has 12 tackles and one pass defended to his name.
Middle Tennessee Betting Insights
- Middle Tennessee is 1-3-0 against the spread this year.
- Middle Tennessee is 1-1 against the spread when an underdog by 8 points or more this year.
- Out of Middle Tennessee’s four games with a set total, two have hit the over (50%).
Middle Tennessee Pick Insights
- With 358.5 total yards per game on the offensive side of the ball, Middle Tennessee ranks 91st in the FBS in 2023. Defensively, it ranks 85th, allowing 381.5 total yards per game.
- Middle Tennessee’s offense has been a bottom-25 unit this season, registering 21 points per game, which ranks 25th-worst in the FBS. On the defensive side of the ball, it ranks 106th with 31 points ceded per contest.
- With 229.3 passing yards per game on offense, Middle Tennessee ranks 81st in the FBS. Defensively, it ranks 91st, giving up 242.3 passing yards per contest.
- Middle Tennessee is compiling 129.3 rushing yards per game on offense this season (94th-ranked). Meanwhile, it is giving up 139.3 rushing yards per game (79th-ranked) on defense.
- Middle Tennessee has been struggling on third down, ranking fifth-worst with a 54.5% third-down conversion rate allowed per game. It has been better on offense, generating a 42.9% third-down rate (59th-ranked).
- At -1, Middle Tennessee owns the 82nd-ranked turnover margin in the FBS, with four forced turnovers (97th in the FBS) and five turnovers committed (50th in the FBS).
Middle Tennessee’s Best Players
- Nicholas Vattiato has thrown for 911 yards (227.8 ypg) to lead Middle Tennessee, completing 70.6% of his passes and collecting seven touchdown passes and two interceptions this season. He is also a playmaker on the ground, racking up 138 yards (34.5 ypg) on 42 carries with one touchdown.
- Jaiden Credle has run the ball 29 times for 188 yards, with one touchdown.
- Elijah Metcalf has racked up 192 receiving yards on 22 catches to pace his squad so far this season while scoring one touchdown as a receiver.
- Holden Willis has put up a 142-yard season so far with one touchdown. He’s caught 13 passes on 14 targets.
- Jeremy Tate Jr. has racked up 129 reciving yards (32.3 ypg) and one touchdown this season.
- Drew Francis has two sacks to lead the team, and also has two TFL and three tackles.
- Jakobe Thomas is the team’s top-tackler this year. He’s amassed seven tackles.
- Deonte Stanley leads the team with one interception, while also collecting one pass defended.