Win over Troy positions MTSU for showdown

The Sports Xchange

November 26, 2012 at 12:47 am.

Logan Kilgore has a chance to lead MTSU to the Sun Belt title with a win over Arkansas State. (Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE)

The stage is set for a battle for all the marbles in the Sun Belt Conference. With Saturday’s 24-21 win over Troy, which snapped a six-game losing streak to the Trojans, Middle Tennessee guaranteed that its Dec. 1 regular-season finale at Arkansas State will determine the outright Sun Belt champ. Both teams enter the game with a 6-1 record in league play.

Middle Tennessee’s win gives the Blue Raiders eight wins, and six conference wins, for the first time since 2009. The Blue Raiders travel to Arkansas State next Saturday, Dec. 1, with the Sun Belt Conference title on the line. Kickoff in Jonesboro, Ark. is scheduled for 2 p.m.

It’s already been a historic season for the Blue Raiders. They improved to 8-3 with the win over Troy, and this is the first time since MTSU won 10 games in 2009 that the program’s posted eight overall victories and six conference wins. Even then, Middle couldn’t get past the Trojans. That changed in this game, thanks to MTSU forcing five turnovers — including a game-clinching pick-6 interception return by Kevin Byard with less than six minutes to go in the contest.

More history’s in this team’s grasp. Middle Tennessee has never won a Sun Belt title outright, and can do that if it gets past Arkansas State, which is coming off a bye and has had two weeks to prepare for this contest.