Posted on December 23, 2022
While the matchup doesn’t involve ranked teams, it remains meaningful on several levels, from players ending their careers on a high note or working to earn more playing time to coaches setting the table for a strong 2023 season.
I preview the game below and the picks of our senior writers and broadcasters appear at the bottom.
Middle Tennessee State v. San Diego State
Saturday, December 24
5:00 pm PT, ESPN
The Aztecs bring their stout defense to the Islands for a battle against Conference USA’s Middle Tennessee State.
The Blue Raiders operate a somewhat balanced offense but are more effective through the air. Quarterback Chase Cunningham has 19 touchdown passes on the year to go along with six scores on the ground.
San Diego State finished the season with the nation’s No. 35 passing defense in yards allowed per game and was No. 33 in interceptions forced.
That bodes well against an MTSU team that can become one-dimensional at times.
The Raiders are 104th in the nation in rushing yards per game and Cunningham has attempted more than 50 passes in three separate contests this year.
Containing the one-two punch of Frank Peasant and Darius Bracy will be pivotal, though. If the Middle Tennessee State running backs are effective on the ground, the MTSU passing game will open up and become even deadlier.
On the other side of the field, San Diego State’s offense figures to go as far as Jalen Mayden takes them.
The senior didn’t play well against Air Force to finish the year but was showing improvement game-by-game since taking over the role in October.
If Mayden limits his interceptions and picks up effective yards on the ground, the SDSU offense should put up enough points to get the win.
Game Picks from our Senior Writers and Broadcasters
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