MTSU Blue Raiders 2023 College Football Preview

MTSU Blue Raiders 2023 College Football Preview

June 14, 2023

2022 Recap

Record – 8-5

ATS – 5-6-1 (vs FBS)

The Blue Raiders didn’t get to play for a conference title but they definitely had a good season. They won their final four games which included a victory over San Diego St in the Hawaii Bowl, but the highlight of the year had to be the slaughter of YOUR Miami Hurricanes. They came into town and WHOOPED DAT AZZ by a score of 45-31, and don’t forget that they were a 25-point underdog in that spot.

Do they have a shot to compete for a C-USA title in 2023?

MTSU Blue Raiders 2023 Outlook


MTSU did the majority of their damage thru the air last season (#35 FBS passing offense) but they’ll need to find a new QB after the departure of 3,000-yard performer Chase Cunningham. Back-up Nick Vattiato SHOCKED the WORLD whilst winning 2021 Bahamas Bowl MVP honors but he didn’t get much work in 2022. He’s the leader in the clubhouse in terms of the starting gig but we’ll monitor things over the summer. The WR group takes a major hit with the loss of their three top WRs who combined for 180 (!) receptions LY. Continuity in the THROW GAME could be a major issue for the Blue Raiders, especially early in the campaign. The good news is that they get back their top RB in Frank Peasant (774 rush, 9 TD, 28 receptions) but the depth behind him will have to step up. The offensive line will need to do a better job this year, particularly in pass protection (37 sacks allowed LY, #104), but note that they return just a pair of starters to the unit.


Yes, guy. The defense will be one of the best in the conference. They are a veteran group that did a great job vs the run LY (117 YPG, #22 FBS, #1 C-USA) and a decent job vs the pass (#5 C-USA pass efficiency D), and recall that they picked off 20 (!) passes which ranked 2nd in the nation behind Illinois. They were also masters of PENETRATION (38 sacks, #1 C-USA). Eight starters return for duty and we expect this year’s defense to perform at a similar level despite the loss of sack leader Jordan Ferguson and interception machine Decorian Patterson (7). They have a pair of studs up front in Zaylin Wood and Marley Cook who combined for 13 sacks LY, a pair of returning starters at LB, and a good-looking secondary that features last season’s leading tackler Tra Fluellen (104) and rock solid CB Teldrick Ross.


The Blue Raiders have an excellent PK in Zeke Rankin (16/19 FG, 45-45 XP LY) and they add a talented punter thru the transfer portal in Trey Turk (Mercer; 44.5). They’ll definitely miss PR/KR Jaylin Lane who did a fine job in 2022.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – They better get their DANCING SHOES on right away as they have a pair of road games vs SEC teams to begin the year (ROLL TIDE, Missouri). They should able to win the next two contests (Murray St, Colorado St) before heading into conference play. Their C-USA road slate is nasty as they have to travel to Western Kentucky, Liberty, and New Mexico St.

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Colorado St (Sept 23)

The Blue Raiders should be able to win this game but we’re not gonna be eager to lay points in this spot with the home favorite. They have a yuuuge battle with WKU on deck and the Rams might have a little bit of extra MOJO as they’ll be looking to avenge LY’s home loss to MTSU.

Season Win Total

Market consensus, June 14

Over 6.5 -130

Under 6.5 +110


No leanage.

They’ll almost certainly start 0-2 and as noted above they have a tough road conference agenda. The good news is that C-USA is a weaker conference in 2023. Coin toss, yo.

MEGAmazing Tidbit

MTSU’s mascot is a blue winged horse named “Lightning” who symbolizes the university’s aerospace and horse science programs and the region’s heritage in the walking horse industry. Wikipedia nugget, y’all.


MTSU is another one of those teams that looks solid on one side of the football and questionable on the other side. The defense will be one of the best in the conference so it’s gonna come down to how quickly the new QB and THROW GAME weapons can get rolling. It’s not an easy schedule so we’ll call for them to get to six or seven wins but miss out on the Conference USA title game. In any event, GO BLUE RAIDERS!