Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Blue Raiders Drop Conference Opener

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Story by Calvin White/ Sports Editor

The preseason conference champion UTSA Roadrunners rode into Murfreesboro and extinguished the red-hot Blue Raiders. Crucial penalties down the stretch cost Middle Tennessee in their 45-30 loss.

UTSA quarterback Frank Harris decimated the Blue Raider defense all night through the air and on the ground. Harris threw for 414 yards, the most in UTSA single game history, and two touchdowns. Earlier this week, MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill said Harris would be the toughest quarterback his team had faced thus far.

“The big thing when you play a guy like him is he’s a senior and he’s played a bunch of snaps,” said Stockstill. “He’s not going to get rattled. If he throws an interception, he doesn’t get rattled. He’s got a quick release, he’s accurate with the football, and he can beat you with his feet just as easily as he can beat you with his arm.”

For the second week in a row, wide receiver Jaylin Lane set a new career high in receiving yards, hauling in 10 passes for 179 yards. Lane also eclipsed the 100 yard mark for the second time in as many games and the third time this season.

Defensive lineman Zaylin Wood picked up right where he left off last week, totaling seven tackles, two sacks, and a pass breakup.

“Everybody was just picking each other up on the sideline,” Wood said. “We just believed that we could get back in the game and try to help the offense out.”

The Blue Raiders fell to 45-23-1 in conference openers since joining the Ohio Valley Conference in 1952. MTSU is now 6-4 in Conference USA opening games and suffered just their sixth loss ever when opening conference play at home.

Blue Raider quarterback Chase Cunningham threw for 300 yards for the second consecutive game and the third time in his career.

MTSU will take on UAB in Birmingham on Saturday, October 8. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT on Stadium and the Blue Raider Radio Network.

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