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Duke Blue Devils vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Prediction, Preview, and Odds
NCAAF: Saturday, September 14, 2019, Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 7:00 pm EDT
After losing the opening games to top teams such as Michigan and Alabama, both Middle Tennessee and Duke scored 45 points in their respective wins over the Tennessee State Tigers and North Carolina A&T Aggies. Those displays are surely encouraging for coaches Rick Stockstill and David Cutcliffe, who are expecting their offenses to continue with excellent showing on Saturday. The rivals haven’t met before so that we can expect some tactical surprises from both sides in this encounter.
The Blue Devils destroyed the Aggies on the wings of Quentin Harris
The Duke Blue Devils bounced back from a devastating 42-3 defeat to the Alabama Crimson Tide with a 45-13 win over the North Carolina A&T Aggies. Senior quarterback Quentin Harris had the best game of his career as he recorded 30 completions on 42 attempts for 345 yards and four touchdowns. He also led his team in rushing yards with 83 on 13 carries, including one touchdown. Deon Jackson followed him with 71 yards on 16 carries.
Middle Tennessee is one of the weakest teams when it comes to defense against running as they are allowing 220.0 yards per contest, so Harris and Jackson could have a big game on Saturday. Jalon Calhoun led all receivers with 105 yards and a couple of TD’s on eight catches while Eli Pancol and Mataeo Durant also found the end zone. Duke’s passing is actually the better part of the offense with 230.5 yards on average. The Blue Raiders are letting 239.5 yards to the opposing receivers, and the visitors will have a chance to do damage through the air against the leaky secondary.
Young guns balled out in the 🏠 win 😈
— Duke Football (@DukeFOOTBALL) September 8, 2019
Harris finally got an opportunity to be starting QB, and he acknowledged that this performance is a big confidence boost not only for him but also for the entire team. “Whenever you get a chance to play well in a game setting, it’s a good confidence boost,” Harris said. “I think it shows you what our offense is capable of when we’re playing to the best of our abilities.”
The Blue Raiders collected over 600 yards in an easy win over Tennessee State
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders responded to the loss to Michigan with a 45-26 home victory over the Tennessee State Tigers. Head coach Rick Stockstill can be happy with the team’s second-half display and 35 points on the scoreboard. Just like Quentin Harris, Middle Tennessee’s quarterback Asher O’Hara also had the game of his career. The sophomore completed 22 of his 30 pass attempts for 367 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. O’Hara made an impact on the ground as well, adding 103 yards on 11 carries.
The second-year runner Chaton Mobley had just a yard more than O’Hara, but with a pair of scores. Even five receivers recorded 60+ yards in the win. The Blue Raider’s passing game is excellent in the opening two games of the year as they are averaging 300.5 yards per game. Duke is allowing 239.0 passing yards per contest, and their secondary will be massively exposed here. The Blue Devils’ rushing defense is much better, though, and it’s going to be hard for the hosts to have two players with 100+ yards on the ground.
Asher O'Hara is named TSWA Offensive Player of the Week after a historical game Saturday night vs TSU.
Come watch the magic Saturday night as we take on Duke!
— Middle Tennessee FB (@MT_FB) September 10, 2019
Head coach Rick Stockstill had special praise for the fans and fantastic atmosphere, and he called them to come and support the team against Duke.
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game
- 4-9 SU in their last 13 games against an opponent in the Atlantic Coast conference
- 2-4 SU in their last six games
- 7-2 ATS in their last nine road games
- 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games in September
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
It is tough to predict the winner of this encounter, but I am going with the visitors for two reasons. First, their offensive line had a great game last week as they didn’t allow a single sack while Middle Tennessee’s defense did record 63 tackles in a win over the Tigers, but ended the clash with zero sacks.
Quentin Harris should have enough time in the pocket and also plenty of space to run the ball. The second reason is Duke’s better defense. Despite having an efficient offense that is averaging 452.0 yards per game, the Blue Raiders allowed 33.0 points per contest thus far. I am not saying that Duke’s D will make such a difference, but for me, it is enough to cover the -6.5 spread.
Prediction: Duke Blue Devils -6.5 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
The total is set at 50.5, and although I highlighted Duke’s defense as leverage here, that doesn’t mean they will not be hurt in this tilt. Middle Tennessee is a better part of the team, particularly their passing, which is the 31st in the country right now, and they have a nice opportunity to score three or four touchdowns. Duke is dangerous from both running and passing, and I am backing them to dictate the tempo here. I am going with Over in this one.
Prediction: Over 50.5 (-110)