Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Blue Raiders Dominate in Home Opener

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Story by Calvin White/ Sports Editor

Middle Tennessee won in dominating fashion on Saturday night, defeating TSU 49-6 in the home opener at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium in front of 22,227 attendees.

Blue Raider running back Frank Peasant dominated on the ground, rushing for 122 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries for an average of 9.4 yards per carry. Peasant’s 122 yards rushing were the most yards on the ground by a Blue Raider since Chaton Mobley rushed for 132 against Marshall on October 2, 2021. Peasant’s 85 yard touchdown run at the start of the third quarter was tied for the sixth-longest rush in program history.

MTSU quarterback Chase Cunningham threw for 216 yards and two touchdowns on 20-24 passing attempts while also rushing for a score in one half of action. Throughout the first half, Cunningham was finding the open man on almost every throw with ease. Wide receivers Jaylin Lane, Yusuf Ali, Izaiah Gathings, and DJ England-Chisholm all caught at least three passes.

“There was a lot of confidence in everybody going out there today,” Cunningham said. “I think we got everybody involved, a lot of guys got touches. The offensive line and Frank (Peasant) played their butts off.”

The Blue Raiders intercepted two TSU pass attempts with Deonte Stanley and Jalen Davis both earning their first career interception.

It wouldn’t be a complete performance unless Middle Tennessee made a play on special teams. Taharin Sudderth blocked a TSU punt in the first quarter, which was then picked up by Jalen Montgomery and ran back 15 yards for a touchdown.

‘I’m really proud of our mental intensity,” Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill said. “I’m proud of the focus that we had throughout the week and throughout the course of this game. 42-0 at halftime, that’s hard to maintain that in the second half. I thought our guys did a really nice job of doing that.”

Middle Tennessee will travel to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. To take on the Miami Hurricanes. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 ET/2:30 CT on the ACC Network and Blue Raider Radio Network.

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