Photo by David Chamberlain / MTSU Sidelines
It was an uneasy kickoff in Floyd Stadium ahead of the Blue Raiders regular-season finale versus the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Saturday. The team needed a Florida International loss to Marshall in order to win the C-USA East division title. Otherwise, the game meant nothing.
The Blue Raiders received the help they needed via an FIU loss and a whole lot more. It was a perfect day as MTSU ran riot over the Blazers 27-3.
UAB struck first with its best drive of the day to make a chip-shot field goal at 3-0, but it was all Middle Tennessee from then on.
The Blue Raiders outgained and outscored the Blazers with the final yardage 394-89 in favor of MTSU.
The output is the lowest of the season from UAB as well as their worst scoring performance since being shutout by Florida in 2011.
The loss also snaps UAB’s 11-game C-USA conference winning streak, the second long streak busted by the Blue Raiders in 2018 following the victory over Florida Atlantic University earlier in the season.
Spotless record at Floyd Stadium
With the win, MTSU finished a perfect 5-0 record at home in the regular season for the first time since 2001.
From dramatic wins over FAU to a big rivalry win against WKU, without its flawless record at home, the Blue Raiders wouldn’t have come close to the success accomplished this season.
MTSU will attempt to make it 6-0 when hosting UAB again next week for the C-USA Championship.
Taste of turf
MTSU had its best defensive performance of the season and perhaps ever under Rick Stockstill with 89 yards of offense allowed, seven sacks and eight tackles for loss.
The seven sacks are a season-high for the Blue Raiders.
UAB quarterback AJ Erdely was lifted from the game after an interception in the third quarter likely due to form and his recovery from a prior injury that sidelined him earlier in the year.
On the ground game, UAB finished with negative rushing yards (47 yards when removing sack yardage) after a strong start running the ball on the first drive.
Run it back again next
With FIU’s loss and the win against UAB, it will be a total rematch for the C-USA Championship Game on Dec. 1 inside Floyd Stadium.
The Blue Raiders will hope to make it a complete replica of the first round, and Bill Clark and UAB will try to prove how hard it is to beat a good team twice.
MTSU remained undefeated at home all-time vs UAB, improving to 3-0 with the win on the day.
To contact Sports Editor David Chamberlain, email firstname.lastname@example.org.