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November 13, 2008
Raiders on the spot: WKU
Middle Tennessee hits the road again this week for a short drive to Bowling Green as the Blue Raiders tangle with Western Kentucky for the final time before becoming conference rivals in 2009.
Which Blue Raiders should you watch closely as the team seeks to draw within two wins of bowl eligibility?
GoMiddle.com picks out the five MT players most on the spot against the Hilltoppers.
1.] Phillip Tanner
The Blue Raiders' season long struggles with the ground game continued in last weekend's win over ULM. The offense was limited to only 90 rushing yards but that could turn around this week against the Hilltoppers. Western Kentucky has had problems stopping the run this year and this week is as good a time as any for Middle Tennessee to gain some confidence in its rushing attack. If Tanner can get things going in Bowling Green, look for the offense to open up and go for the big play in the passing game.
2.] Joe Craddock
The senior quarterback shined last week in front of a very satisfied crowd on homecoming. Craddock delivered quite a show for the fans at Floyd Stadium completing more than 65 percent of his passes for 216 yards and a touchdown. Craddock has delivered some memorable moments for the Blue Raider faithful this year and fans are hoping for a similar result against one of the school's fiercest rivals. If Craddock is on top of his game this week, look for a lot of happy faces heading home after the game on I-65.
3.] Danny Carmichael
Carmichael enjoyed one of the finest performances of his career at Middle Tennessee with a dominant effort in last week's win over ULM. The junior picked up a team high nine tackles, including two for a loss and a sack. A continued high level of play by Carmichael could be key to shutting down the WKU offensive attack, which weekly relies on getting production from the run game. If Carmichael can be disruptive, the Hilltoppers will likely struggle offensively.
4.] Lonnie Clemons
Clemons was a huge part of the defensive success last week. The linebacker was a constant threat and created plenty of disruption in the Warhawk backfield while picking up two sacks. Clemons will need to provide steady pressure again this week in order to stifle the WKU offense. The Hilltoppers were forced to play two quarterbacks in last week's loss to Troy after starter David Wolke left the game with an injury. Look for the Raiders to blitz frequently in an attempt to keep the heat turned on high against Western quarterbacks.
5.] Patrick Honeycutt
The junior found his groove again in last week in a strong effort against the Warhawks. Honeycutt had struggled leading up to homecoming and was not able to provide much of an offensive threat during the three game road trip. The tough nosed senior pleased the home crowd last Saturday with a team high 67 yards receiving and a touchdown. He caught passes from both Craddock and Dwight Dasher so he appears to have a nice rhythm with both.