In North Carolina’s second football game of the 2013 season, the Heels will take on the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders of Conference USA. This is MTSU’s first year in Conference USA, joining along with seven other schools in the revamped league. The Blue Raiders are 1-0 to begin their season, having beat the Western Carolina Catamounts 45-24 at home last Thursday. Middle Tennessee State went 8-4 last season, but did not make a bowl game after losing in the Sun Belt conference championship game. Here is a scouting report of the Blue Raider’s offense and some names to know before they take on UNC on Saturday September 7th.
Name to Know- Logan Kilgore
Outlook- In MTSU’s first game of the season, third year starting QB Logan Kilgore went 12-18 for 144 yards and a touchdown. Kilgore has lots of experience in the MTSU system, having attempted over 769 passes in his career. He is an above average starter for the Blue Raiders, earning Honorable Mention All-Sun Belt Conference honors last season and was even named to the Manning Award Watch list for this season. Kilgore was also just the second QB in school history to throw for more than 2000 yards in back to back seasons. Although most his stats came against somewhat inferior Conference USA, Kilgore has proven he can play against ACC quality teams as well. Last season, in an upset of Georgia Tech, Kilgore threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns. The Tar Heels have to treat Kilgore like a strong pocket passer. UNC must chase him out of the pocket so he doesn’t have time to set his feet and make good throws, because Kilgore is not a duel threat quarterback, only rushing for 72 yards last season. If they put good pressure on the senior QB, the Tar Heels shouldn’t have too much trouble with the MTSU passing attack, partly due to the inexperience the Blue Raiders have at wideout.
Name to Know- Jordan Parker
Outlook- MTSU also has a very talented running back in sophomore Jordan Parker, who ran for 156 yards and one TD against the Catamounts. Last season, he averaged 5 yards a carry, running for over 850 yards as a freshman. Parker was only a two star prospect coming out of high school, but showed great explosiveness in his first season at Middle Tennessee State. This RB has the ability to break for a long run on any play. Last Saturday, his long run was 65 yards, and in 2012 he had a long of 98 yards. Once again, most of Parker’s stats have come against Sun Belt level competition. This will be a big test for the sophomore, playing against an ACC school, so it will be interesting to see how he performs. Coming from the Western Carolina defense, Parker may also struggle to adjust with the speed of the Tar Heel linebackers and lineman early on in the game Saturday.
Names to Know- Kyle Griswould, Christian Collins
Outlook- In Middle Tennessee’s first game, no one wide receiver stood out far above the others. In all, nine receivers caught passes, with 6 hauling in more than 20 yards. Last years best receiver, Anthony Amos, has moved on with NFL aspirations. Amos caught just under 1000 yards last season, and replacing that production this year will mainly be senior Kyle Griswould and sophomore Christian Collins. They head the unproven groups of targets for QB Logan Kilgore. Griswould and Collins combined for 4 catches last week, and MTSU needs those two to step up in the UNC game. Unproven and young wide receivers can be vulnerable in the spotlight. Don’t be surprised if this group of receivers struggle early on the road against the Heels.