Experts

Vanderbilt football game with MTSU could go either way, experts say

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MTSU and Vanderbilt renewed their series in 2001 for the first of five meetings since then. The Blue Raiders hold a 3-2 edge in those games.
Adam Sparks

Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee State face off in Saturday night’s season opener in Murfreesboro. It sets up to be a tightly-contested game for the 7 p.m. kickoff on CBS Sports Network.

Here are the predictions from our USA TODAY Network-Tennessee staff:

Erik Bacharach (MTSU beat reporter)

MTSU 34, Vanderbilt 27: MTSU’s defense looks sharp under first-year defensive coordinator Scott Shafer, and the Blue Raiders make a loud statement to begin their season.

More: Vanderbilt, MTSU football broadcasters started as college classmates

Adam Sparks (Vanderbilt beat reporter)

Vanderbilt 37, MTSU 35: A back-and-forth thriller kicks off the season in the right way. Ralph Webb is the difference with a third straight strong performance in this series.

More: MTSU’s Brent Stockstill, Richie James in SEC? Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason ponders it

Joe Rexrode (columnist)

Vanderbilt 31, MTSU 27: Both offenses are going to get things done, and the Blue Raiders have a real opportunity with a home night game. But Kyle Shurmur, Ralph Webb and Vandy have enough balance to prevail.

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Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason praises MTSU stars Brent Stockstill & Richie James.
Adam Sparks

Dave Ammenheuser (sports director)

MTSU 28, Vanderbilt 24: Blue Raiders score on big plays, and the Commodores’ streak of disappointing openers continues. It will be Vanderbilt’s sixth consecutive season-opening loss.

More: How Vanderbilt football snaps 5-game losing streak in openers by beating MTSU

John Adams (columnist)

Vanderbilt 34, MTSU 30: The Blue Raiders have been preparing for two Commodores quarterbacks: The Kyle Shurmur they saw against Tennessee and Ole Miss, and the Kyle Shurmur they saw against almost everybody else.

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MTSU coach Rick Stockstill addresses the media during a press conference Monday.
Erik Bacharach/DNJ

Reach Adam Sparks at asparks@tennessean.com and on Twitter @AdamSparks.

 

SEASON OPENER

VANDERBILT AT MTSU

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

TV/Radio: CBS Sports Network/1510 AM, 98.3 FM, 1450 AM, 102.5 FM

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