MURFREESBORO, Tennessee – Middle Tennessee football got off to a red-hot start on offense, taking a three-point lead in the first half that propelled the Blue Raiders through the rest of the evening, beating FAU 49-21 on Saturday night at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium .
The Blue Raiders (6-5, 3-4 C-USA) rushed for 400 yards in the first half and scored on four of the team’s first five drives to take a 28-7 lead. FAU (5-6, 4-3 C-USA) would get a touchdown back just before halftime but failed to slow down the Blue Raiders in the second half as MTSU won the third quarter like the previous two quarters, 14-7, to continue their dominance on the day.
Chase Cunningham narrowly missed setting multiple program records and settling for personal bests in both completions (40) and passing yards (448 yards). The signal caller threw five touchdown passes on Saturday. The MTSU running backs made it big, with Frank Bauer and Darius Bracy Combination for five of the Blue Raiders’ seven touchdowns.
Defensive, Christian Dixon was a threat in his last game at Floyd Stadium. The Towson transfer led the Blue Raiders with eight tackles, including 1.5 TFL. Jordan Ferguson got a huge special teams game on his stellar career résumé when he rushed the ball 49 yards with a fake punt direct snap to set up an MTSU touchdown in the third quarter.
Through the numbers
372: drive-bys for Chase Cunningham in the first half. The sixth-grader completed 31 of 42 passes with four touchdowns in the first 30 minutes of the game. Both the mileage and the number of completions with single semi-program records.
166: Total meters for Frank Bauer, who became the first Blue Raider since Brad Anderson in 2017 to record 100+ receiving yards. Peasant had three touchdowns on Saturday, two from the air and one on the ground.
9: Tackles for loss for the MTSU defense. Eight different Blue Raiders contributed to at least one TFL on Saturday, led by Marley Cooks 2.0 sacks.
Blue Raider Notes
CAPTAINS: Today’s game captains were Yusuf Ali, Chase Cunningham, Jordan Ferguson, Jaylin Laneand Yes’Kerrius Wyatt.
BOWL ABILITY: With today’s win, the Blue Raiders advanced to Bowl qualifiers with their sixth win of the season. It’s the 12thth time in 17 years under Rick Stockstill MTSU was eligible. The 12 bowl-eligible seasons since 2006 are the most among Conference USA teams and among FBS teams in Tennessee State.
HOME FINALS: Middle Tennessee owns a mark of 11-5 under Rick Stockstill in his last home game of the regular season and has won eight of his last 10.
90+: MTSU recorded its third drive for 90 yards or more this season when it rushed for 90 yards to score in the first quarter. It was also the longest scoring drive of the year at home, as the previous two drives came for 90 yards to No. 25 Miami. That’s now 34 drives from 90 yards or more under Rick Stockstill.
WELCOME BACK CHASE: After missing the game against Charlotte with an injury last week, QB Chase Cunningham came back with a vengeance on seniors day. The signal-caller threw for a career-high 448 yards on a personal-best 40 completions (second most completions in school history). It was his second 400-yard passing play of his career (408 vs. Miami). The Knoxville native put up 31 of 42 passes for 372 yards and four touchdowns in single games in the first half against FAU.
ANOTHER BLOCK: Middle Tennessee, starting third nationally in blocked kicks, recorded their sixth win of the season against FAU. The Blue Raiders blocked a punt courtesy of Ralph Mency Late in the second quarter and it was the second block of his career. The six blocked kicks this season are the most since the Blue Raiders had six in 2010. A total of 54 kicks were blocked during the season Rick Stockstill Era with 27 field goals, 21 punts and 6 PATs.
PAYER OF RECEIVER: Back race Frank Bauer was a great receiver off the backfield during his career. Against FAU, Peasant had a career day through the air with personal bests in receptions (8) and reception yards (107). His previous peak in a game was three catches on two occasions and yards was 36 against Louisiana Tech earlier this year. Peasant became the first Blue Raider to retrace 100 yards since Brad Anderson had 137 yards against UAB in 2017.
FAST HITTER: Jordan Ferguson made his 33approxStart in a row against FAU today Kyle Ulbrich made his 37th Start in a row… Ferguson also played the lead on his team 56 Career play that ranks third-most all-time…MTSU hit a TD on its opening run of the game for the first time this season…Middle Tennessee’s 615 yards offense was a season-high… Telrick Ross ended with a career high five pass breakups.
Middle Tennessee wraps up the regular season on the road in Miami, Fla. next Saturday takes on the FIU Panthers. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT on ESPN3 and the Blue Raider Radio Network.
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