Blue Raider safety Gregory Grate Jr. attempts to take down Duke running back Mataeo Durant during their 41-18 loss on Saturday. Photo by Megan Cole/ Sidelines.
Murfreesboro, TN- In the annual Black Out Game for Middle Tennessee State (1-2), it was all white as Duke (2-1) rolled the Blue Raiders Saturday night in Floyd Stadium 41-18.
The opening drive for the Blue Raiders started hot but stuttered after an offensive pass interference call limited MTSU to a Crews Holt field goal to start the game up 3-0.
But from that point on, it was all Blue Devils with Quentin Harris and head coach David Cutcliffe’s offense slashing the MT defense for 31 unanswered points going into halftime.
Duke put MTSU on the back foot early with two fourth-down conversions on its opening two drives which converted into two touchdowns. An onside kick following Duke’s first scoring drive meant Asher O’Hara and company were down two possessions before they touched the ball for their second drive.
O’Hara put in a solid performance despite the loss with two passing touchdowns and 201 yards passing.
“I’ve been working on learning protections and I was running around too much. I should’ve just taken some hits and thrown the ball sometimes. (One of the last plays), there’s an open touchdown and I’m running for my life for no reason,” O’Hara said.
Cutcliffe offered his praises for the young signal-caller.
“(O’Hara) got us tired. He did a good job with some of their (run-pass options),” Cutcliffe said.
Duke would score on all of its drives in the contest until late into the 4th quarter in garbage time.
Harris finished with 24/27 for 237 yards and four touchdowns through the air for the Blue Devils as the offense morphed into a triple option scheme in the 2nd half to mow down the tired Blue Raiders defense as well as the game clock. Duke finished with 226 rushing yards on the night.
“The frustrating part is never being able to get off the field. Not being able to stop them one time,” head coach Rick Stockstill said.
MTSU will have a bye week next week.
The road does not get easier for the Blue Raiders as the team will travel to the University of Iowa for its final non-conference game of the 2019 schedule. The Hawkeyes are nationally ranked and sport one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in Nate Stanley and a Top-20 defense. The game will kickoff at a time to be determined.
“We’ll get locked in on Iowa…get a break mentally and physically and then come back ready to go,” Stockstill said.