The first ever Godaddy.com Bowl will be played in Mobile, Alabama on Thursday and features a match up between two conference champions. MAC Champion Miami (Oh) is playing in their first bowl game since 2004 and as a result of their success lost their head coach Mike Haywood to Pittsburgh, who recently fired the former Redhawk coach. In his place defensive assistant Lance Guidry will guide the Redhawks. Middle Tennessee State won the Sun Belt Conference and is in its second bowl game in as many seasons. In an earlier face off between the MAC and the Sun Belt, Ohio defeated Troy. There is no doubt the Blue Raiders will be extra motivated by that as the two conferences go double or nothing at Ladd Peebles Stadium.
3 Keys from the scouts
1. Can Miami (Oh) stop the run. Blue Raider running back Phillip Tanner averaged almost 6 yards per carry and found the end zone 11 times this season. With a passing offense that is little to speak of the Blue Raiders win or lose with the run.
2. Can Middle Tennessee State protect the football. On the season the Blue Raiders are a terrible -16 in turnover margin which is good for dead last nationally. With 33 giveaways they average very close to 3 turnovers per game. Miami (Oh) is +8 on the year and has an opportunistic defense that is 9th nationally with 30 forced turnovers. Mismatches this rare aren’t often seen in bowl games and Middle Tennessee State must close this gap.
3. Can Miami (Oh) contain Jamari Lattimore. With 14.5 tackles for loss on the season Jamari Lattimore has been a disruptive force consistently. Should he be able to get into the backfield and harass freshman quarterback Austin Bouchet he could take over the game almost single handedly.
Bold Prediction: Miami is the better team but is playing without their coach. Middle Tennessee State has better players at a few key positions but is an undisciplined mess ranking last in turnovers and giving up over 70 yards a game in penalty yardage. They should keep it close but ultimately Miami (Oh) will pull out the victory. Miami (Oh) 24 Middle Tennessee State 16.
|FA||Jamari Lattimore||OLB||11||3Jr||Junior college transfer that’s made his mark as a pass rusher. Lines up in a three point stance at MTSU but will have to transition to outside linebacker in the NFL.|
|FA||Rod Issac||CB||6||4Sr||Possesses NFL size and has enough skill to secure a spot on a roster as an eighth defensive back/special teams player.|
|4-5||Brandon Brooks||T||56||4Jr||Athletic lineman that has successfully held down the left tackle and guard spots for Miami. A well sized blocker with enough footwork to play on the blind side at the next level and also offers possibilities on the strong side as he physically matures.|
|FA||Zac Dysert||QB||4||3So||Strong armed passer on the sidelines with injury this season.|
|FA||Brandon Stephens||CB||24||4Sr||Physically gifted corner with poor ball skills.|
|FA||Armand Robinson||WR||11||5Sr||Elusive and reliable pass catcher who projects as a number five wide out.|
|FA||Jamal Rogers||WR||9||4Sr||Injured in ’10. Red-shirt?|
Game Preview: Brent Foshee
Prospect Preview: Tony Pauline