F-I-U (7-4) at Middle Tennessee (2-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 26th, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Floyd Stadium (30,788) -- Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: FIU 4-2, MT 1-4. Away Record: FIU 3-2, MT 1-4. Neutral Record: FIU 0-0, MT 0-0. Conference Record: FIU 4-3, MT 1-5. Series Record: Middle Tennessee leads, 4-2.
GAME NOTES: The FIU Panthers look to end their regular season with a third- straight win as they take on the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in Sun Belt Conference action at Floyd Stadium.
FIU started the season out 3-0 before losing three of its next four. The Panthers have bounced back from the slump by winning three-of-four down the stretch. Head coach Mario Cristobal had his team playing at a very high level this season as it pulled off big victories over Louisville and UCF. FIU closes its regular season out with Middle Tennessee locked into a fourth place finish in the Sun Belt with a 4-3 record in conference. FIU's seven wins this year is a new program record.
Middle Tennessee is 2-8 after last week's loss to Arkansas State which was its fourth-straight. The Blue Raiders' only conference win came over winless Florida Atlantic. Rick Stockstills' team has lost some heartbreakers this season as fell to Troy by just three and took the Hilltoppers into overtime before falling short.
Middle Tennessee holds a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series over FIU. The Blue Raiders have won every meeting that took place in Floyd Stadium.
FIU's offense is averaging 373.8 yards of total offense per game to average 25.8 points per game. The Panthers have shown the ability to hurt teams either through the air or on the ground.
Wes Carroll has been the leader of the Panthers' offense as he has seen the majority of the snaps this season. Carroll began the season as a mere game- manager as he allowed the defense and running game to deliver the victories. In the Panthers' fifth game against Duke, the senior quarterback came out of his shell and became a gun slinger as he threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Carroll has show the ability to play in either a conservative or aggressive offensive system as he has passed for 2081 yards and 12 touchdowns with just four interceptions this year.
T.Y. Hilton was being hyped as a Heisman candidate in the earlier year after a seven-catch, 201-yard, and two-touchdown performance in the win over Louisville. Hilton has continued his success all-season at a slightly lower rate as he has dealt with injuries. Hilton is usually the primary mark of the defense.
Sophomore Kedrick Rhodes is leading the rushing attack. The tailback eclipsed the 1000-yard mark last week in the win over ULM and now has 1004 yards on the ground this season.
FIU's defense has been performing at a very high level. The Panthers are ranked 32nd in the nation in total defense and eighth in the nation in sacks as they pursue the quarterback as well as anyone. Jonathan Cyprien is the reigning Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week. Cyprien, a junior safety, had his most productive game of the season, racking up nine tackles, five of them unassisted, and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown.
The Blue Raiders rank second in the league in total offense (418.9), third in rushing (151.9) while standing fifth in scoring offense (24o gain 458 yards of t points per game. During the course of the season Maryland has been in a state of transition as it saw eight potential starters sidelined, four of which were four the season. Eric Franklin has been the leader of the team with 98 tackles for the season.
Going into the Clemson game, NC State had scored 23 points in its previous three games. The offensive drought ended as the Wolfpack took it to the Tigers with 37 points. NC State gained 398 yards of total offense, which was its highest total in five weeks.
Mike Glennon was sensational against the Tigers as he completed 19-of-29 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns. Glennon snapped a four-game streak of games with a thrown interception in the win.
James Washington was called upon often against Clemson as he carried the ball 22 times for 86 yards and also contributed 44 receiving yards on four catches. Washington will get a good deal of touches against Maryland and will likely have a good day against the 115th ranked rushing defense of his opponent.
T.J. Graham proved himself as a valuable asset to the passing game early in the season with three-straight 100-plus yard receiving games. Graham's numbers dipped for a few weeks after the streak but he appears to be making a comeback into prominence as he grabbed four balls for 54 yards in the win over the Tigers.
NC State has a strong defensive unit as it is ranked in the top five of the ACC in pass efficiency defense, rushing defense, total defense, and scoring defense. The rush defense is going to be tested by Meggett and Brown of the Terrapins. Earl Wolff and Audie Cole are the leaders of the defense as they have 180 tackles between them.
This very disappointing season for the Terrapins finally comes to an end. NC State needs to win to keep its post season hopes alive. Maryland has a chance at pulling off the upset if Brown plays exceptionally well, otherwise the Wolfpack will enjoy bowl season this year.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Carolina State 35, Maryland 27
11/23 17:07:45 ET