MIDDLE TENNESSEE-WESTERN KENTUCKY NOTES OF INTEREST
BY JOE SHIVAK
PHOTOS BY MIKE CURRAN
MURFREESBORO, TN ( 9/13)…………The Blue Raiders were celebrating Black Out Night in Floyd Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 24,911. The faithful home crowd wore black attire while the visitor section showed the bright red colors of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
It was the eighth largest crowd in school history and the most since the 2010 home opener against Minnesota.
These two teams last played on November 1,2012 at Houchens-Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, KY in a game won by Middle 34-29. The Blue Raiders scored 10 points in the final quarter in the winning effort. Reggie Whatley scored the winning touchdown on a 96 yard kickoff return.
This marks the second year for Middle in Conference USA while Western Kentucky is in their maiden year thus making this matchup the first conference game of the season for both teams. It is however the 64th meeting between the two schools which are separated by 100 miles and a state line. The Blue Raiders hold a 33-29-1 advantage. MT has won six of the last eight meetings but are 1-2 in the last three home games against the Hilltoppers.
Coming into this weekend, Louisiana Tech is the only conference team to have played a conference game. Tech beat North Texas which are both in the West Division. Both of tonight’s opponents are in the East Division. Both teams enter this contest with a 1-1 record. Both teams played and lost to a Big Ten school in the previous week’s game. Middle lost to Minnesota while Western Kentucky lost to Illinois.
This is the 100th season of football for Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro.
Jeff Brohm is the Hilltoppers head coach. He is in his first year as head coach after spending one season as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. He graduated from Louisville in 1994.
The home team is 1-6 in the last seven meetings between these two programs. The only win was for Middle in 2009.
Three players, Isaiah Anderson ( right tackle #73), Kevin Byard ( strong safety, #20) and Darius Johnson ( offensive right tackle, #75) lead the team with 27 consecutive starts. Place kicker Cody Clark has hit nine of his last 10 field goal attempts.
Safety Kevin Byard has had at least one interception in four of his last six games. The 5′, 11″ junior is from M.L. King High School in Lithonia, GA.
Middle travels to Memphis on September 20th to take on the Tigers in the Liberty Bowl. The game can be seen on ESPN3 at 6:00 pm