The secret is out. The players and coaches on this Middle Tennessee team are incredible at second half adjustments and execution.
In the first half of MTSU’s three victories this season, the Blue Raiders have been outscored a combined 55-46. In the second half of their wins, however, the Blue Raiders have outscored opponents 74-30, including 39-10 the last two weeks versus conference opponents.
It’s a point of pride not only for the players but for the coaches as well.
“Every game you play, every offense is going to present something new that you haven't practiced,” said Coach Rick Stockstill at Monday’s weekly press conference. “So those are the in-game adjustments that you have to be ready to make and I think our players have done a great job of that and obviously our coaches have too."
While the team hopes to have a better first-half versus Florida International in Miami this weekend, a game that will conclude the season’s first half, Middle Tennessee’s second-half execution has made it the team to beat in Conference USA’s East division.
“We've been down at the half two weeks in a row,” said quarterback Brent Stockstill. “I think we’re doing a good job of executing in the second half.” Added star linebacker Darius Harris, "We have to learn the game plan and just come out with more focus and more energy, so we don't have to play from behind."
The Blue Raiders offense has been scoring a lot in the second half, MTSU's defense has stepped up in a big way as well. Allowing a combined 274 offensive yards and just seven points in the second half versus FAU and Marshall, the Blue Raiders defense has been quite stingy late in games.
Middle Tennessee is again an underdog this weekend. Florida International opened as a 2.5-point favorite over the Blue Raiders. MTSU has been an underdog each of the last two weeks as well. If the Blue Raiders put together four quarters as good as their last two second-halves, they may not be an underdog again for a while.
The game is set for a 6:30 CT kickoff and will be televised on the beIN network.