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Film Forecast: Middle Tennessee State at Miami, 9/24

The underdog Blue Raiders head to Miami Gardens to face the Hurricanes at 3:30pm on Saturday, Sept. 24th

Middle Tennessee v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes will host the underdog Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders on Saturday, September 24th at 3:30pm on ACCN. The ‘Canes are coming off a close loss to Texas A&M, while the Blue Raiders rolled to a big victory over Tennessee State (FCS).

Miami’s offense looks for a shot in the arm against a lowly Group of 5 team, and MTSU looks to prove they’re “Power 6” worthy as opposed to stuck in CUSA purgatory. Draft Kings has Miami as a 24 point favorite over MTSU heading into Week 4.

The Doppler

Per the SP+, Miami is ranked 27th in the country (FBS). The ‘Canes are ranked 27th on offense, 32nd on defense, and 12th in kicking. MTSU is ranked 95th overall, 97th on offense, 92nd on defense, and 93rd in kicking. Yes, MTSU is this bad of a G5. Miami shouldn’t be playing two really bad G5’s in the same season, that’s a bad home schedule and just stupid preparation for the ACC season ahead.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 17 Tennessee State at Middle Tennessee Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MTSU is scoring only 30 PPG (81st in FBS) and allowing 23 PPG (59th in FBS). Miami is scoring 36 PPG (50th) and allowing only 12 PPG (16th in FBS).

MTSU has been called with just over five penalties per game and allows just over one turnover per game, too. Miami has been called for 6.7 penalties and has also turned the ball over 1.3 times per game.


QB Chase Cunningham has thrown four touchdowns and two interceptions over MTSU’s 2-1 start. Cunningham has completed almost 73% of his passes but only for 6.2 yards per attempt. RB Frank Peasant has rushed for over 220 yards on five yards per carry with five scores. The Blue Raiders don’t have a deep threat so far this season- the highest yards per catch with 5+ receptions is 14.4.

Above- I like the 21 personnel look (two backs, one tight end) with the run concept they drew up. Lead back is looking for a linebacker to pick up, the TE is off line, runs the wrap and could be an RPO option if the back side DE squeezes in too fast.

Pretty pretty. LB’s need to stay home back side against the counter-boot-reverse mentality used there.

Above- DJ Ivey played a hell of a ball game and you want to see more and more of it. Now that his confidence is there, it’s time to shine no. 8! Don’t allow these deep balls to get by you, and hopefully Kam Kinchens is back at safety directing traffic.


Jordan Ferguson has lived up to the billing on the D-Line with 3.5 TFL’s and three sacks so far this season. Ferguson has also forced two fumbles and logged 20 tackles. DB Teldrick Ross leads the team in tackles but will play more safety than corner this year. DE Quindarius Dunnigan has 3.5 TFL’s and 2.5 sacks in limited duty.

Above- The MTSU defense is opportunistic. They’re not a good team by any means, but certain aspects of the program standout, like their pass defense coming up with interceptions and PBU’s.

Above- I’ve never been much for bunching the defense all together as an offense. MTSU doesn’t have to cover 53 13 here because of how CSU is lined up. Miami chose that path against TAMU because that’s the Cristo-ball way. But it backfired at times.

Above- Insert zone play and MTSU doesn’t just stuff it, they force a fumble and turnover.

Above- Don’t get it twisted, CSU is hot garbage. They’re bottom 10 bad in FBS. John Campbell has played much better than I expected and being next to Jalen Rivers doesn’t hurt. Rivers directs traffic like no OL I’ve seen at Miami in over a decade.

Above- Dunno about you but I’d like to see Miami with more than three TD catches through three weeks. Especially with games against UNC, Clemson and Pitt on the docket. Miami won’t be able to run wide zone and power over and over against the Clemson front six or seven. And UNC and Pitt will score 30+ not nine points.

Above- The deep fade! Miami needs to get those WR’s going and to catch a wide open ball like this. MTSU skills can’t keep up with Miami skills.

Above- Miami has recorded only three turnovers against two FBS teams, and ZERO against P5 teams. If only there was a motivational trinket that made players just want turnovers more than ever before... (I’m obviously joking).

The Forecast

Per ESPN, the ‘Canes have a 94.4% win expectancy over MTSU. The Canyonero keys from the summer were: 1- Don’t come out flat / improve the kicking game (gulp); 2- handle Ferguson- the MTSU DL that could dominate Miami; 3- Getting a WR open against Ross and a solid DB corps.

More than likely Miami will come out flat, once again. It’s been an issue for three weeks under Mario Cristobal, why not make it four? The kicking game was atrocious against Texas A&M and needs improvement against MTSU.

The pass protection is much improved with Campbell, Rivers, Clark and Scaife getting a lot of PT. Rivers and Clark work perfectly together and Rivers looks like an NFL Draft pick in ‘23. I’m much less worried about Ferguson now than in July.

Restrepo and now Jacolby George are out for some time. Now it’s up to ANYONE from Miami’s WR corps to not drop a wide open pass. MTSU has solid defensive backs and Ross could be a pest for Van Dyke in coverage.

Prediction: Miami by 24. The run game will be too much for MTSU, and the defense will hold them to 10 or less.