- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Middle Tennessee quarterback Dwight Dasher had his appeal to reduce his four-game suspension rejected by the NCAA, so he must sit out tomorrow's game against Louisiana.
Dasher has been suspended four games for improperly accepting a $1,500 loan. He is eligible to return for the huge conference showdown against Troy on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
Without Dasher, Middle Tennessee has struggled to find any consistency. The Blue Raiders are 1-2 and face a big test in their conference opener at the Ragin' Cajuns. Jeff Murphy and Logan Kilgore have both started at quarterback, and coach Rick Stockstill has yet to announce who will start Saturday.
Kilgore has been hampered with a toe injury, which forced him to miss the second game of the season against Austin Peay. He returned last week against Memphis, but was benched in favor of Murphy after throwing three interceptions in the loss.
Middle Tennessee also has taken a hit to its offensive line: center Alex Stuart (knee) could be out for the year, while tackle Mark Fisher (knee) is doubtful for this game, and guard Brandon McLeroy is questionable with several injuries.
One of the biggest problems, though, has been turnovers. Middle Tennessee is one of the worst in the country in turnover margin, having given the ball away 10 times and taken it away just twice. Its four turnovers against Memphis led directly to all of the Tigers' 24 points.
Middle Tennessee went into the season as the consensus pick to win the Sun Belt. If it truly wants to stay in that race, it has to beat Louisiana and just weather the storm until Dasher returns. The Blue Raiders should consider themselves fortunate that he will be back just in time for that game against the Trojans.