Football: Top 5 November wins in the Stockstill era

Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sidelines Archives

Since Rick Stockstill took over as head coach in 2006, Middle Tennessee State University has boasted a 26-15 record in the month of November. Out of the their last 35 games in November, MTSU has a 24-11 mark and has taken 15 of their last 20 games.

Coming off of their first November win against UTEP last Saturday, the team is looking to put together another “November to Remember.”

“We take pride in playing well in November,” said head coach Rick Stockstill. “Going into November, you finish every week. You play with great effort, with great tenacity and with great intensity every week. We take a lot of pride in that a lot of people, a few weeks ago, wanted to write us off. We’re not going to write ourselves off.”

In no particular order, we took a trip down memory lane and recapped the top five November wins in the Stockstill era.

Nov. 3, 2007: Louisiana-Monroe

After starting the season at a dismal 1-5, a 43-40 win against ULM gave the Raiders their fourth win in a row to bring them back to .500 on the year.

The game featured two “explosion plays” that were both pivotal moments in helping MTSU collect the win.

After coming out of the half down 26-24, Blue Raider quarterback Joe Craddock accounted for a pair of clutch touchdowns in the second half that proved pivotal in the game’s outcome.

In the third quarter, Craddock found receiver Johnathan Grigsby on a 94-yard touchdown for the first of the two scores to give Middle a 30-26 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Craddock snuck one in from a yard out to give Middle Tennessee the lead back at 37-33 with 2:26 left in the ballgame.

After the Warhawks regained the lead at 40-37 with 1:00 left, MTSU’s electric kick returner Bradley Robinson returned a kickoff 89 yards for the game’s final score to again bring the Raiders back from a deficit. Robinson, who trotted into the end zone with 45 seconds remaining, collected the 13th interception of his career, moving him into a tie for third place in career picks in the Sun Belt Conference.

Nov. 20, 2010: Western Kentucky

One of the numerous, memorable “100 Miles of Hate” games, MTSU came back from a two-possession deficit to win 27-26 in the fourth quarter.

Former MTSU quarterback Dwight Dasher pictured in the 2009 New Orleans Bowl. (Photo courtesy of madduxsports.com)

With Western Kentucky knocking on the door of a three-touchdown advantage, senior defensive back Rod Isaac recovered a fumble on the one-yard line and took it 99 yards to the house to make it a 26-20 game.

After getting the ball back, MTSU running back Benny Cunningham punched it in from six yards out to end a crucial 10-play, 77-yard drive to tie things up. Kicker Alan Gendreau knocked in the extra point to give MTSU a 27-26 lead with 4:38 to go.

With 2:32 left in the ballgame, the Raiders stepped up to make a big play as time dwindled down. Defensive lineman Jarrett Crittenton jumped up and got a paw on the Western Kentucky go-ahead field goal attempt to give Dwight Dasher and the MTSU offense the ball back, where they ran out the clock and escaped Bowling Green with a win.

Although he only accounted for 107 total yards, Dasher securing the ball was a stat that stood out in a ballgame that went down to the wire.

 Nov. 3, 2013: UAB

The Blue Raiders downed the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers on a Cody Clark 18-yard field goal with seven seconds left to escape Legion Field with a 24-21 victory. The win was MTSU’s fourth of five such victories that season where the go-ahead score came in either the fourth quarter or overtime.

Former MTSU quarterback Logan Kilgore rolls to his right. (Photo courtesy of the Murfreesboro Pulse)

The comeback kids of 2013 were led to victory by senior quarterback Logan Kilgore. Kilgore began orchestrating the fourth-quarter comeback by tossing a 93-yard touchdown reception to receiver Marcus Henry to put MTSU up 14-13. The momentum then shifted to the defensive side of the ball when linebacker Stephen Roberts had a 40-yard “pick-six” to stretch Middle’s lead out to 21-13.

After UAB tied the ballgame, Kilgore and the Middle Tennessee offense nickled and dimed the ball downfield to set up Clark’s game-winning kick.

The Blue Raiders picked up 259 yards on the ground as well, led by running back’s Reggie Whatley (15 carries, 155 yards) and Jeremiah Bryson (10 carries, 57 yards).

Nov. 22, 2014: FAU

MTSU’s wild 35-34 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls got them to bowl eligibility for the sixth time in nine years under Stockstill.

MTSU found themselves in a 27-14 hole with 8:01 left in the third quarter when the Reggie Whatley show started. The senior running back found the end zone twice over the final 23 minutes of the game. His first trip to the end zone came in the third quarter when he carried the rock 75 yards to pull Middle to within one score.

After being down by two possessions again, Whatley punched it in from nine yards out to make it a 34-28 ballgame in favor of the Owls with 4:15 to go.

With 19 seconds left, quarterback Austin Grammer found Marcus Henry in a tight window in the middle of the end zone to tie it up. Kicker Cody Clark’s extra point dotted the “i” and won the game.

Nov. 7, 2015: Marshall

In a game that took three overtimes to decide, Middle Tennessee outlasted the Marshall Thundering Herd to hand Marshall their second loss of the season (MTSU went to 4-5 after this game, Marshall would go to 8-2).

After heading into the first overtime tied at 17, freshman quarterback Brent Stockstill connected with receiver Ed’Marques Batties to put MT on top 24-17.

Marshall responded with a touchdown pass of their own to send the game to a second overtime, where both teams failed to score after a missed field goal.

Middle Tennessee started with the football in the third overtime, and Cody Clark would hit his field goal attempt this time to put MTSU on top 27-24.

The MTSU defense kept Marshall out of the end zone once again, and defensive back Jeremy Cutrer became the hero of the ballgame when he blocked Marshall’s game-tying field goal attempt to end the long battle.

Honorable Mentions

  • Nov. 8, 2008: Louisiana-Monroe (Final MTSU 24, ULM 21)
  • Nov. 2, 2012: Western Kentucky (Final MTSU 34, WKU 29)
  • Nov. 24, 2012: Troy (Final MTSU 24, Troy 21)
  • Nov. 14, 2015: Florida Atlantic (Final MTSU 24, FAU 17)
  • Nov. 19, 2016: UNC-Charlotte (Final MTSU 38, UNCC 31)

Follow MTSU sports reporter Anthony Fiorella on Twitter at @A_Fiorella74 for more coverage.

To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis (@RustyEllis13), email sports@mtsusidelines.com.

For more sports stories, follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter and Periscope at @Sidelines_Sport.

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