Story by Matthew Giffin / Contributing Writer
Middle Tennessee State University (1-2, 0-1 Conference USA) and its offense could not find any breathing room in the Alamodome against the University of Texas at San Antonio (3-0, 1-0 C-USA), who neary left their opponents scoreless for the second week in a row (27-13).
MTSU’s defense put up a fight, however. Safeties Gregory Grate and Reed Blankenship led the Raiders with 14 and 13 tackles, respectively. Grate forced a fumble in the first quarter, and Quincy Riley intercepted two UTSA passes, one for a touchback and one which he ran into the Roadrunners’ red zone for 56 yards.
Unfortunately, Middle Tennessee’s offense failed to capitalize on the defense’s success. In the first half, quarterback Bailey Hockman was left unprepared for the aggressive Roadrunner defense and without much help from his offensive line or the running backs. He did not take the field after the second quarter, finishing with 41 passing yards and throwing 5-12. He was sacked 3 times for major losses and threw an interception from the Roadrunners’ red zone on what should have been an easy touchdown. Junior Chase Cunningham replaced Hockman for the game’s remainder to no avail, scoring only twice in the fourth quarter and throwing 9-18.
There was hope for MTSU at the half when the Roadrunners were only ahead (10-0), but San Antonio’s dominance soon became clear. Starting quarterback Frank Harris took over the game, throwing two wide-open TD’s and totaling 329 yards from passing and rushing. Zakhari Franklin and Joshua Cephus combined with Harris for 8 receptions each, and running back Sincere McCormick led UTSA with 105 rushing yards.
Lorenzo Dantzler for the Roadrunner defense scooped up a fumble from the Raiders near their own end zone and scored to widen the lead in the fourth. The Roadrunners went 2-4 in field goals.
Friday, September 24, Middle Tennessee will take yet another road trip for an in-conference battle against the Charlotte 49ers. The game will be available for viewing on the CBS Sports Network.