Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. Connecticut Huskies Picks and Game Preview -- 10/22/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 6 p.m. ET, October 22, 2021
Venue: Pratt & Whitney Stadium, East Hartford, CT
Where to watch: CBS Sports Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: MTSU -15.5
BetMGM: MTSU -15.5
Caesars: MTSU -15

Season record
Middle Tennessee: 2-4 (1-2 Conference USA)
Connecticut: 1-7

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Middle Tennessee - UConn preview and analysis

Recent form
MTSU: lost 41-13 at Liberty on Oct. 9
UConn: won 21-15 vs. Yale on Oct. 16

I’m not sure if the parade in Hartford has stopped. It’s likely 30 people walking down the street yelling that UConn football doesn’t suck, but it’s the liveliest thing that could’ve happened for that program.

The Connecticut Huskies won an actual football game on Saturday. Yes, you can even chalk a victory against the Yale Bulldogs as something that counts in this world.

But can UConn do it again? They’ll try to make it two in a row at home against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Friday.

The Huskies nearly let this one get away, and it would’ve been the ultimate UConn gaffe. They led 21-0 after an early touchdown in the third quarter, but Yale scored 15 unanswered points and cut it to six with 4:30 to go.

But the UConn defense forced four turnovers and made the necessary stops to snap the 11-game losing streak. Steven Krajewski once again was not a dominant force on offense completing 21 of 32 for 199 yards and two touchdowns, but no interceptions on his ledger.

Leading receiver Keelan Marion had only two catches, but  had 64 yards and one of Krajewski’s touchdowns. No UConn receiver had more than four receptions. Your fun stat of the night: Huskies receiver Aaron Turner caught four passes for a grand total of five yards. This offense is just a weird thing to watch … and for those who have avoided it, great job.

But the Huskies enter Friday’s matchup as two-touchdown dogs to a MTSU team that’s coming off a four-touchdown loss to the Liberty Flames two weeks ago. Quarterback Chase Cunningham completed just over 50 percent of his passes to throw for 230 yards and two touchdowns, but both sides of the ball had their struggles. Despite the MTSU defense intercepting Malik Willis three times, they still gave up 449 yards.

There’s no doubt who the better team is in this matchup, but you always wonder if UConn could actually do it twice in two weeks.


And the answer to that is no, because UConn still nearly found a way to almost lose last week. The Huskies can’t be trusted for the remainder of time. Middle Tennessee by 20

Betting trends

Middle Tennessee is 13-14 in its last 27 against the spread and 7-9 ATS in its last 16 on the road.

MTSU is 6-5 ATS in its last 11 off a road loss.

UConn is 36-123 straight up as an underdog since 1992.

Statistical leaders

Middle Tennessee:
Passing: Chase Cunningham -- 973 yards, 12 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Chaton Mobley -- 184 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Jimmy Marshall -- 329 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Reed Blankenship -- 55 tackles

Passing: Steven Krajewski - 701 yards, 5 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: Nathan Carter -- 439 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Keelan Marion -- 346 yards, 5 TD
Defense: Jackson Mitchell -- 78 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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