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November 20, 2008
Raiders on the spot: North Texas
Needing just two wins to reach bowl eligibility, Middle Tennessee will take the field at Floyd Stadium for the final time in 2008 when the Blue Raiders battle Sun Belt bottom feeder North Texas.
The Mean Green have had crippling problems on both sides of the ball, which should open the doors of opportunity for several Blue Raiders if MT plays its best game.
GoMiddle.com picks its five Raiders on the spot for this week's matchup.
GoMiddle.com picks out the five MT players most on the spot against the Hilltoppers.
1.] Danny Carmichael
Carmichael has been a beast defensively in recent weeks and is currently playing the best football of his career at Middle Tennessee. The junior picked up nine tackles and a sack last week in a win over rival Western Kentucky. North Texas has an offense with potential for big plays, but the Mean Green also has a tendency to turn the ball over. A continued high level of play by Carmichael can help the Raiders disrupt North Texas and make life difficult for the faltering Eagles.
2.] Phillip Tanner
Tanner should have another chance Saturday to prove his value as one of the top talents at running back in the Sun Belt. The junior enjoyed a breakout performance against Western Kentucky last week, rushing for 92 yards and a touchdown. The Raiders have had major problems running the ball this season, but the ground attack picked up the pace last week. North Texas ranks 106th nationally in rush defense and should provide another chance for Tanner to enjoy a productive day running behind a young offensive line.
3.] David DeFatta
There is no doubt in my mind that DeFatta was the biggest reason the Raiders came out of Bowling Green with a win. He has punted the football extremely well over the last two games. During that time, he has averaged 46 yards per punt and has had three of his kicks downed inside the 20 yard line. DeFatta also boomed a 71 yard punt against the Hilltoppers, which ranks as the fourth longest punt in school history. Expect field position to be a key factor in Saturday's game with the Mean Green. If DeFatta continues to excel, the Raiders should be in great shape.
4.] Rod Issac
The sophomore defensive back played well last week against the Hilltoppers. Issac picked up a crucial interception and had four tackles for the Raiders. He should get more opportunities to improve his interception total this weekend. North Texas loves to spread the field and chuck the ball all over. Although he can be dangerous at times, Mean Green quarterback Giovanni Vizza has thrown 13 interceptions this season. Issac and the Blue Raider secondary should have a golden opportunity to create big plays on Saturday.
5.] Joe Craddock
The senior has to be licking his chops heading into his final game at Floyd Stadium. Craddock has been a solid leader this season and is ranked second in the Sun Belt in passing. He has thrown for nearly 2,200 yards and 12 touchdowns. North Texas fields one of the weakest pass defenses in the country. The Mean Green are giving up more than 280 yards a game through the air. With that said, expect Craddock to have a big game throwing the football and end his home career at MT with a bang.