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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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Sun Belt Football Middle Tennessee State at Arkansas State: Start Time, Spread, Free Pick

Sun Belt Football on Saturday and we will see the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders travel to Jonesboro, Arkansas to take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves. The game is scheduled for a 3:00 PM (Eastern) start time and it will be televised live on ESPN3. Currently the odds for the game have Arkansas State favored by 11 points, while the total sits at 62.5. Check out Sportsbook Spy to find out what side the Public is taking on all today's games.

Free Analysis: Middle Tennessee improved to 8-3 overall last week with a hard-fought 24-21 win over Troy. The victory was the fourth in a row for the Blue Raiders, who finished last season with a dismal 2-10 overall record. Although Middle Tennessee is on the road in this one, it may play to its favor as it has compiled a 5-1 away record this season, which is the most it has ever had under coach Rick Stockstill. Middle Tennessee's offense was much more explosive earlier in the season as it surpassed the 30-point plateau six times during an eight-game stretch. However, the team produced only 44 total points in its last two outings. Last week, the offense got help from three field goals and a defensive score. Logan Kilgore has done a great job under center for the Blue Raiders' offensive unit. The junior QB is among the conference leaders in completion percentage (.628) and efficiency rating (145.0). He has thrown for 2,457 yards, 16 touchdowns, and just four picks. The MT defense (26.5 ppg, 434.4 ypg) has been sporadic all year. However, the unit has come up clutch down the stretch. The Blue Raiders have recorded 15 takeaways over the last four games, including Kevin Byard's fourth quarter interception which he returned 77 yards for the go-ahead score in last week's bout with Troy. Byard forced three turnovers in the contest. Allen Craig leads the team with 82 total tackles.

The Red Wolves had last week off after notching their sixth win in a row with a 41-34 victory at Troy on Nov. 17. Arkansas State enters the contest with an identical 8-3 overall record and a 6-1 mark in SBC action as well. Coach Gus Malzahn has done a tremendous job in his first season at the helm of the program. The reigning SBC Champions became bowl eligible for the fifth time in the last eight years earlier this season. During its current six-game win streak, Arkansas State has put up 34 points or more in every game. It has the highest scoring offense in the Sun Belt with an average of 35.6 ppg. The team came up just five yards shy of eclipsing the 600-yard mark in total yards of offense for the third time this season two weeks ago versus Troy. Ryan Aplin earned his second consecutive SBC Offensive Player of the Week after recording a school-record 454 yards of total offense in the Red Wolves’ win over the Trojans. The senior leads the SBC in passing yards with 3,270,yards and he has thrown 20 to just four interceptions. David Oku (922 yards) has been at the center of the team's fantastic rushing attack that has racked up more than 2,335 yards. Oku's 14 rushing touchdowns are the most in the conference. Rocky Hayes has been potent on limited touches, with an incredible 429 yards on just 38 carries for 11.3 yards per carry. The Red Wolves are ranked fourth in the SBC in total defense (403.2 ypg) and third in scoring defense (27.7 ppg). The unit allowed 518 yards of total offense to Troy its last time out, but luckily it was bailed out by Aplin and the offense.

Free Pick: I will look to the Under in this one. The MTSU defense comes into this game playing very good defense as they have allowed just 20.7 ppg over their last 3 games. The Arkansas State defense has struggled of late, but allot of that was due to the 518 yards they allowed Troy in their last game, Overall Arkansas State has been very tough defensively at home where they allow just 318.8 ypg and 21.7 ppg on the year. The Offenses are very good for these team, but both units could cone out a bit tight and conservative as this is a huge game for both squads. Look for this one to be in the 50’d at best.  


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