After a spring and summer offseason full of what-ifs and threats of cancellation, MTSU football returned to the gridiron in West Point for the Blue Raiders opening game vs Army with only a few thousand Army cadets in the stands.
However, after a 42-0 beatdown at the hands of the Black Knights Saturday afternoon, more questions might be asked about the direction of the team on the field than off.
MTSU (0-1) had its opening drive end with a turnover, which Army (1-0) quickly seized up to set up a brutal and efficient scoring drive highlighted by its signature option offense. From there, MTSU looked totally lost on both sides of the ball as Army continued to enforce its will throughout the rest of the game.
Perhaps excuses can be found in the fact MTSU’s schedule was a massive source of change over the last few months due to conferences cutting non-conference matchups, meaning MTSU lost its scheduled opening game against Duke forcing the Blue Raiders to scramble to find an opponent in Army.
For Army, the transition from studying Oklahoma, its original opening weekend opponent, to MTSU was likely a lot smoother than vice versa. Trying to nail down how to attack the tricky option offense is something that can’t be easily done in the span of a few weeks.
However, MTSU made social media waves and trended on Twitter early Saturday afternoon for all the wrong reasons, as a shambolic display of time management wasted a goal to go set up for the Blue Raider offense leading to zero points.
MTSU is socially distancing from clock management.
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) September 5, 2020
Army ended the game with 340 yards rushing and a sizeable eleven-minute time of possession lead over MTSU. The Black Knights went 13 for 15 on third-down conversions and scored a touchdown on every single possession except for the final game-ending drive as time waned down.
The win Saturday marks Army’s largest shutout win over an FBS team since 1963.
For MTSU, four turnovers marred a muzzled offense, and starting quarterback Asher O’Hara was pulled after his second interception was returned for a touchdown. Backup Chase Cunningham entered and finished 7 for 10 passing for 63 yards but also failed to jumpstart the Blue Raider offense.
MTSU will get a bye week next week to mentally reset after this weekend’s loss as the Blue Raiders prepare for its home opener against Troy as a part of the two schools’ home-and-home series which will see MT travel down to Troy in November.
To contact Sports Editor Nathan Vaughan, email firstname.lastname@example.org.