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MTSU Posts Big Homecoming Win

The Blue Raiders in Saturday’s 62-24 homecoming victory over conference rival Western Kentucky set several new offensive marks. MTSU improved to (4-3, 2-1 in the SBC), while WKU fell to (0-7, 0-3).
Some of those records included 646 yards of total offense and 62 points, the most by MTSU during the Rick Stockstill era. The previous mark was 555 yards, which came against Louisville in 2007. The 646 yards of total offense is 3rd all-time in Blue Raider history. The 62 points scored was the most by the Blue Raiders under Stockstill, and most since a 70-58 victory over Idaho in 2001.
This production came after only scoring 13 points in the previous two games.
“I think we came out today ready to play,” freshman walk-on wide receiver Harold Turner said. “We executed throughout the whole game.”
Junior MTSU quarterback Dwight Dasher picked up most of the load with 421 total yards, 5th most in school history. Dasher threw for three scores and ran for a couple more. Coming into the game, Dasher was ranked 10th in the nation and first in the Sun Belt in that category.
“I hope Dwight realizes the mental approach he took this week,” head coach Rick Stockstill said. “He practiced better this week. He needs to realize what it takes to win. When you have success you must take note of what you do and keep doing it in order to continue playing well. You cannot turn on a light at 2:30 and play well. This week he was more focused on the attention to detail. A lot of our players practiced better and it showed.”
Dasher added, “I went into practice with a different mindset. I had to make-up for some of the mistakes I made against Mississippi State and not turn the ball over. I learned from a lot of my mistakes.”
28 of those points came in the second quarter, including two touchdown connections to senior Chris McClover. McClover had a career-best six catches for 149 yards. The other touchdown went to Turner, who scored his first touchdown as a Blue Raider.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Turner, who added another touchdown catch in the fourth from back-up quarterback Brent Burnette, said. “I can’t explain it.”
The 28 points tied for the most in a quarter under Stockstill. They also scored 28 in a quarter against North Texas last season.
“We simplified things on offense a little because we had turned the ball over a little too much and wanted to keep control of the ball,” Stockstill said.
Sophomore kicker Alan Gendreau scored MTSU’s first points of the game with a 38-yard field goal to even the score at three in the first quarter. That was his ninth consecutive make, which broke his own record of eight set last season. He made it 10 in a row with 29-yarder in the third.
“Alan has been very consistent,” Stockstill said. “He is a very even-keel young man. He is not rattled. He is a very strong-minded person. He is kicking with a lot of confidence.”
The defense also played a key role in the win. The Blue Raiders only gave up 250 yards of total offense, most of that came in the second half when the game was already out of reach. They had 12 tackles for loss and five sacks.
By the way, the team was excited about knocking off their rival, which met as conference opponents for the first time since 1981.
“It was wonderful to beat them,” Turner said. “Hopefully, we can carry out this tradition as long as I’m here and everybody else that comes to Middle Tennessee.”
The Blue Raiders head to Florida Atlantic Saturday for a 3 p.m. kickoff. The Owls will be looking for revenge after losing last season 14-13 on a Hail-Mary pass with no time left, which was shown on national television. MTSU, however, wants to continue their march to a SBC title.
“Everyone realizes it is time to step-up. We were tired of losing,” Dasher said. “We want to win the conference and go to a bowl game.”

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