Football: Blue Raiders fall to FAU in C-USA opener

John Urzua hands the ball off to Brad Anderson against Bowling Green on September 23, 2017 in Murfreesboro, TN (Darwin Moore/MTSU Sidelines).

Photo by Darwin Moore / MTSU Sidelines

With the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (2-3, 0-1) still dealing with injuries, they struggled to get anything done this weekend  and lost to the Florida Atlantic Owls (2-3, 1-0) by a score of 38-20 at FAU Stadium.

The victory ended the Owls nine-game losing streak against the Blue Raiders, and it was the first time Middle Tennessee has lost their C-USA opener since joining the conference. That winning streak was the longest one C-USA team had over another.

Kicker Cannon Rooker matched his career-high with a 46-yard field goal on the Blue Raiders’ opening drive of the game. That kick made him 4-5 on kicks longer than 40 yards. Rooker was the only Middle Tennessee player to score in the first quarter, as MTSU trailed 14-6 at the end of the first stanza.

Turnovers by quarterback John Urzua in the second quarter plagued the Blue Raiders, as they ended the half down by a score of 24-6.

Urzua and the Blue Raiders finally got the ball rolling in the third quarter, as Urzua found sophomore Ty Lee for a touchdown. Lee was one of the lone bright spots for Middle Tennessee, as he reached the 100-yard receiving mark for the third time in his career with 136 yards overall on the day.

The Blue Raiders final score of the game came on a four-yard pass from Urzua to Jocquez Bruce, but it wouldn’t be enough as MTSU fell by a final score of 38-20 to FAU.

Urzua had a career-high game with 359 yards and 31-for-51 in completions. Junior wide receiver Patrick Smith also had a career-high game, setting career-high of 76 total yards against FAU and 51 reception yards.

Junior Darryl Randolph blocked a field goal attempt for the first time in his career with the Blue Raiders, making it the 38th blocked kick under coach Rick Stockstill.

What’s next?

The Blue Raiders will return home next weekend, hosting the conference leader Florida International University Golden Panthers. The Blue Raiders beat the Golden Panthers 42-35 last season at a neck-in-neck game in Miami, Florida.

Follow sports reporter Madison Zygadlo (@madszygadlo) on Twitter for more coverage.

To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis (@RustyEllis13), email

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