Three in a row?

The MTSU Blue Raiders tried to continue their winning streak as they opened up Sun Belt Conference play.
After an incredible 32-31 win at Maryland on Sept. 19, the Blue Raiders headed to Denton, Texas, to face a North Texas team that came off a 53-7 loss to Alabama during the previous week.
The Blue Raiders and Terrapins had an epic showdown in which the score kept changing hands. MTSU won it with a 19-yard field goal by Alan Gendreau as time was running out.
It was the first road win over a school from a BCS conference since a 2005 victory over Vanderbilt.
“It means a lot,” MTSU junior quarterback Dwight Dasher said during the post-game press conference. “We’re showing everyone that we’re here to play and that we can beat bigger schools. It shows we’re serious and we’re are trying to make it to a bowl game.”
During that historic game-winning drive engineered by Dasher that covered 73 yards, he went a perfect 4-for-4 in the air. Chris McClover caught a 35-yarder during the drive that took the ball to the Maryland 10. On the next play, D.D. Kyles ran it to the 2, and the Blue Raider offense almost ran out of time. Dasher, however, was able to spike the football with a couple of seconds left.
Maryland called two consecutive timeouts trying to get inside Gendreau’s head. Gendreau, however, stepped up and converted the field goal with no problem. His performance earned him SBC Special Teams Player of the Week.
“I was telling everyone they had to pick up their blocks and everyone had to make plays,” Dasher said. “We needed to get down there and win the game, and that’s what we did. I told the line to give me some time so I could make some plays and they did that for me. We just kept saying ‘Play hard. We can win this game.’”
Another hero for MTSU was defensive end Chris McCoy. He did not do much except have a career-high nine tackles, blocked a field goal, recovered a fumble, broke up a pass and had one sack. He was named SBC Defensive Player of the Week and National Defensive Performer of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards.
Moving on to the start of conference play, North Texas and MTSU have a storied past during the short history of the Sun Belt.
The first time these two teams met was in 2001, the first year of the SBC. The Blue Raiders came into the game 5-0, while North Texas was 0-5. The Mean Green upset MTSU 24-21 and won their next five games. Even with finishing 5-6, and the Blue Raiders having an 8-3 record, North Texas owned the tiebreaker and won the conference title that season. That 2001 season began a run of four consecutive SBC titles. They also defeated the Blue Raiders every year until current MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill took over in 2006.
In those three showdowns, the Blue Raiders have won all three by an average margin of 31.3 points.
Last season, the Blue Raiders knocked the Mean Green 52-13. Running back Phillip Tanner had a huge day with six touchdowns, five rushing and one kickoff return. There is only one problem; Tanner did not play on Saturday, because of an injury.


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