Sunday, June 16, 2024

Ground game powers MTSU to win in home-opener

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Featured photo by Khori Williams

Story by Calvin White

Murfreesboro, TN- With starting running back Frank Peasant sidelined with an undisclosed injury, running backs Jekail Middlebrook and Jaiden Credle scored two touchdowns each to combine for 28 of MTSU’s (1-2) points in a 35-14 win over Murray State (1-2) at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium. 

Credle, who played in seven games last season at Northern Illinois, scored both of his touchdowns in the first quarter. The first came on a 14-yard reception from quarterback Nicholas Vattiato after a seven-play, 75-yard drive to open the game. Credle then ran 71 yards untouched to the end zone to extend MTSU’s lead to 14-0. 

“Everyone in the huddle was telling me it’s a touchdown play,” Credle said of his 71-yard touchdown run. “I saw how the defense was lined up and just knew it was going to go to the house. I already knew I was going to score.” 

The Blue Raiders found success on the ground in the first half, rushing for 115 of their 217 total yards in the first two quarters on 16 attempts. 

“Our offensive line did a really nice job of staying on blocks and I thought our receivers did a good job of blocking in space,” MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill said. “We were very solid in the running game.” 

Middlebrook continued the rushing success when he carried a Murray State defender into the end zone after a 25-yard run for his first career touchdown. Then, in the third quarter, Middlebrook scored his second touchdown from 18 yards out to put MTSU ahead 28-7. 

217 total rushing yards are the most rushing yards MTSU has had in a single game since rushing for 223 yards against Tennessee State on Sep. 17 of last season. 

“I knew the offensive line was going to be blocking but I knew I was going to have to make some plays myself. Whenever the play came, I was going to make it.” Middlebrook said of his two touchdowns. 

Calvin White is the sports editor for MTSU Sidelines. If you have information for a story, you can contact him at wcw3f@mtmail.mtsu.edu. For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com. Also, follow us on Facebook and Instagram @mtsusidelines, or on X @MTSUSidelines. 

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