October 24, 2008

Stockstill talks Mississippi State

Middle Tennessee has already pulled off an upset over one BCS conference opponent and come close in two others this season.

Now the Blue Raiders and head coach Rick Stockstill will look to claim another milestone win this weekend when they travel to Mississippi State.

"We don't look at it as a chance to pull an upset," Stockstill said. "To me it's just playing another good football team from in my opinion the best conference in college football. Mississippi State will present enough challenges for us. We will have our hands full obviously. We just don't look at it as a chance to upset a team from the SEC or the Big East or the ACC. We know it will be a huge challenge and if we do or if we were fortunate enough to win, it is an upset because they are better than us and been doing it a lot longer than us."

Middle Tennessee made a statement earlier this season when they knocked off Maryland 24-14 on Sept. 6. The Blue Raiders also lost close games with BCS opponents Kentucky 20-14 and Louisville 42-23, a game in which it jumped out to a 14-0 lead.

Stockstill is accomplishing all this with a depleted roster.

"We've only got 70 guys on scholarship," Stockstill said. "We've got five guys that have been out for the year because of injury. We're playing with 65 scholarship guys and we are probably redshirting another 15 of those. Last week against Louisville, we played 17 guys on defense that played 10 or more snaps and on offense we only played 18 guys and one of those guys had 10 snaps. We're not playing a whole bunch of people because we don't have that many bodies to chose from right now.

"Once we get our allotment back up to 85 scholarships, my goals is to always be the best we can be. Whatever our record is, I want us to be the best we can be. We can go a lot of great things here. We've been competitive in these type games and been competitive in all our Sun Belt Conference games over the last two and a half years. I think we are building a program here that in time, and it is going to take time, that can compete for the conference championship on a regular basis. That's my goal and I think it can be done."

The Blue Raiders are very young tying Alabama with the fewest number of seniors of any FBS school with nine.

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