MTSU's early schedule hurt Sun Belt title chances

While the Owls will be playing their first Sun Belt game Tuesday, their host will be playing their third.

And Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill thinks the schedule has hurt his team, as the Blue Raiders are 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the conference.

"We are playing our third game before anyone else [in the conference] plays their second. With a young team you wish you had more non-conference games earlier in the year to prepare them," Stockstill said.

Last year FAU opened the season against MTSU, and this year the Blue Raiders again opened the season with a conference game, losing to Troy.

MTSU lost its second conference game Saturday at Arkansas State. The FAU/MTSU game is Tuesday at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2. It is the only conference game played this week.

With two losses, the Blue Raiders are probably out of the hunt for the conference title, though Stockstill is not ready to concede.

"It is still pretty early in the season to say you are out of it. It will be difficult and we will need some help," Stockstill said.

Grounded: The Blue Raiders have had problems with their run game this season, and are averaging 69.2 yards per game, and the leading rusher is Phillip Tanner, who is averaging 38.2 yards per game.

Against Arkansas State, MTSU managed just 44 yards on the ground. The win snapped MTSU's five-game win streak against the Red Wolves.

FAU is averaging 104 yards rushing per game, and Charles Pierre is averaging 67 yards per game.

Surprise team: Arkansas State (3-1, 1-0) looks to be the surprise team in the Sun Belt this season. The Red Wolves got attention right away when they beat Texas A&M in the season opener.

They followed that up with an 83-10 win over Texas Southern. They then lost to Southern Miss 27-24 before beating MTSU 31-14.