By: Caleb Luketic // Contributing Writer
MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee (1-0) opened up the 2015 football season at home against FCS opponent Jackson State in a dominating fashion.
When they finally found rhythm offensively, the Blue Raiders ran over Jackson State 70-14. The 70 points the Blue Raiders scored was their second largest in school history, just shy of the school record of 76 set in 1927.
The Blue Raiders were hard hitting from the first whistle, not allowing a Tigers first down on their first four possessions. Middle Tennessee was able to disrupt the passing game directly by creating pressure from the front seven and throwing in a few corner blitzes.
Brent Stockstill made his first career start at quarterback, and came out fairly slow. Stockstill threw early short passes and screens to get the ball into his receivers hands to let them make plays to gain some momentum.
The redshirt freshman quarterback finished 23-29 for 336 yards and four touchdowns, the most by a first-time starter in Middle Tennessee history.
Ed Batties was big for the Blue Raiders, tying his career-high of eight receptions. Batties showed improvement throughout camp and is looking to have a big year. The redshirt senior finished with 123 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
“The best I’ve ever seen as a (redshirt) freshman. He’s a great leader, and I’m just glad to have him,” Batties said when asked about Stockstill’s command of the huddle. “We gelled tonight [as an offense] because we all know our roles.”
MTSU rushed 63 times for 282 yards, which opened up the passing game for Stockstill and his receivers.
MTSU ran away with the game, racking up over 600 yards of total offense on the day, and limited the mistakes. The team finished with one turnover, an INT thrown by Stockstill late in the third quarter.
The Blue Raider defense provided a spark for the offense as well. As a whole, the defense finished with an interception returned for a touchdown, a fumble recovery, and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown.
“I thought it was a clean game for us… I thought we did a good job in all three facets of the game [offense, defense, and special teams],” Head Coach Rick Stockstill said after the historic win over the Tigers.
“I thought he showed a lot of poise in the pocket,” Stockstill said when asked about Brent’s performance at quarterback.
UP NEXT – The Blue Raiders (1-0) head to Tuscaloosa to take on the third-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) . Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. and will be shown on the SEC Network.
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