The Blue Raiders were named as 20-point favorites in Vegas odds against Texas-San Antonio, but it seemed the Roadrunners forgot to check those odds before the game.
UTSA received the opening kick and immediately set the tone for the day. Eating nearly five minutes off the game clock, the Roadrunners scored with ease on 11 plays. Only two of those plays were passes, and they gained 47 rushing yards on their first possession.
The Blue Raider offense responded quickly with a touchdown drive that lasted only 1 minute and 25 seconds, capped off by a Brent Stockstill touchdown pass to Dennis Andrews. However, it turned out to be the best looking drive for the MTSU offense on the day.
The defense’s struggle to stop the run on the first drive was a theme that played out throughout the game. By the end of the first quarter the Roadrunners already had rushed for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Things went from bad to worse at the beginning of the second quarter. On the first possession of the quarter UTSA’s Baylen Baker broke through the MT offensive line and blind-sided Stockstill. Every bit of Baker’s 285-pound frame fell on top of Stockstill as his shoulder was driven into the ground.
While Stockstill did stay in to throw the next two passes, doctors would come to find that his collarbone was broken in two places. According to coach Rick Stockstill, even though Brent was told playing through the injury could potentially kill him, he still asked to be put back in the game.
Things got uglier for MT from that point. UTSA scored on the ensuing possession on a 70-yard drive that consisted of only one complete pass of 20 yards.
Stockstill’s replacement, redshirt freshman John Urzua, had his second pass attempt intercepted on the wrong side of the 50. The Roadrunners again extended their lead, this time primarily through the air.
The Blue Raiders were able to get a field goal as the clock expired, but they went into the locker room down 28–10.
Things would not get brighter for the Blue Raiders in the second half. Urzua turned the ball over on three of MT’s first four possession’s of the third quarter. The Blue Raiders, who were chosen to win by 20 points, lost by a score of 45-25.
To make matters even worse, Stockstill was ruled out for the rest of the regular season after the game.
John Urzua may not have impressed many at Floyd when he was thrown into the fire, he did throw three interceptions and lost a fumble, but keep in mind how hot that fire was when he was thrown in it. Urzua’s practice reps have been very limited all season long, and he was put into the game when the Blue Raiders were already down 21–7.
Brent Stockstill is a believer in John Urzua.
“I don’t think there’ll be any drop off. He’s a big kid with an extremely strong arm. He can make all the throws. The more reps he gets in practice, and knowing he’s playing going in, he’s going to do a tremendous job,” says Stockstill.
Urzua will get a chance to prove Stockstill right and the doubters wrong Saturday against Marshall.
The Blue Raiders go on the road to face the Thundering Herd, as the Herd will look for vengeance from last year’s triple-overtime game that MT won at Floyd.
Though Marshall returns several starters from its 2015 team that finished 10–3, they have struggled this season having only won two games thus far. Much of those struggles appear to be due to the Herd’s inability to establish the run and prevent the other team from doing so.
However, as evidenced against UTSA, the Blue Raiders defense doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of offensive coordinators when it comes to the running game. Besides, most of the talent from a 10–3 team is still there. The Blue Raiders can’t take anything for granted.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. You can watch the action on ASN or listen in on WGNS at 100.5 FM.