Saturday, January 28, 2023

Football: Second half outburst not enough for MTSU in loss at UTSA


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After adding the game late last Saturday night, MTSU made the trip to the Alamodome for a last-second matchup against the Roadrunners of UTSA Friday night.

For two straight games, MTSU has struggled offensively and seemed lost at sea. But Friday night in San Antonio showed flashes of the brilliance of Asher O’Hara and the Blue Raider offense from 2019. But alas, it was still not enough.

UTSA (3-0, 1-0 Conference USA) held off multiple comeback attempts from MTSU (0-3, 0-1) for a 37-35 win despite being outgained 563 to 391 by the Blue Raiders in total yardage.

The start for both teams was turnover-filled with three interceptions in the first twenty minutes of game time, but UTSA would capitalize more on these chances taking a two-possession lead midway through the second quarter.

Then something flipped on for Asher O’Hara and the Blue Raider offense, as O’Hara would link up with favored target Jarrin Pierce for two chunk play catches that would set up a punch-in touchdown for Chaton Mobely to cut the deficit to four.

Mobley would play a key part in the Blue Raider offensive flurry in the second half. Mobley finished the game with three total touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) as MTSU tried to outgun a UTSA offense playing the last thirty minutes of the game without starting quarterback Frank Harris.

Harris would leave the game with an apparent injury at the end of the first half, and in his place, backup Josh Adkins would toss for 233 yards and a touchdown in a superstar relief performance.

UTSA would take its second double-digit lead of the game late in the third quarter thanks to Adkins’s sole passing touchdown of the night, and MTSU would answer back instantly with O’Hara linking up with DJ England-Chisolm to cut the deficit to a one-possession game again.

Despite a daring 13-play drive with minutes remaining in the game that cut the UTSA lead to only two points, the Blue Raiders ran out of time at the end of the game as the Roadrunners escaped with a win on home turf.

While the result remains the same, Blue Raider fans can at least find a silver lining in the offensive output from MTSU Friday night. MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill has emphasized the need to get the running game started up in order for the offense to succeed, and that proved true in this contest with MTSU racking up 191 yards on the ground in a season-high total.

What’s Next:

MTSU will return home for its Homecoming game against rivals Western Kentucky after the planned bye week for the Blue Raiders was filled by the game vs UTSA.

The Hilltoppers will enter also winless with one team leaving Floyd Stadium next Saturday with its first win of the 2020 season. WKU has lost two close encounters to Louisville and Liberty so far this fall and will lean on transfer starting quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome to outgun a rejuvenated MTSU offense.

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