Monday, October 24, 2016

Middle Tennessee State edges Missouri 51-45

The first time Missouri played Middle Tennessee State was Sept. 20, 2003, when the Tigers narrowly defeated the Blue Raiders 41-40 in overtime.
Missouri coach Barry Odom was a graduate assistant coach on that team, and earlier this week, fondly recalled a walk-off touchdown in the south end zone of Faurot Field.
After Saturday, new memories of Middle Tennessee State will likely occupy Odom's thoughts.
The Blue Raiders spoiled Missouri's 105th homecoming, defeating the Tigers 51-45 Saturday.
It's the most points Missouri has ever scored in a loss.
"I'm frustrated that we didn't win the football game," Odom said. "We played very poorly in a lot of aspects."
Brent Stockstill was 23 of 41 for 280 yards and four touchdowns, and added 70 yards rushing on seven carries as the Blue Raiders amassed 584 yards of offense, including 300 rushing yards.
"I definitely think that's the biggest win I've ever been a part of," Stockstill said. "It was huge for us. I think it starts with the no turnovers. I thought we were able to move it and protect it...overall we moved it all day and protected the ball and that's what wins games."
Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Stockstill described it as "a phenomenal win for us."
"Our guys competed their tails off," Brent Stockstill said. "They battled. They never flinched. They never relaxed. It was back and forth the whole game."
I'Tavius Mathers rushed 28 times for 215 yards and a touchdown for Middle Tennessee, and also caught 8 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. It's the highest individual rushing total Missouri has surrendered since Auburn's Tre Mason rushed for 180 yards in the 2013 Southeastern Conference championship.
Missouri (2-5) had 629 total yards on 104 plays, its highest play total of the season.
Running back Damarea Crockett had 29 carries for 156 yards and 4 touchdowns and Ish Witter added 19 carries for 121 yards. Crockett's four scores are the most by a freshman running back in school history.
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock was 20 of 40 for 281 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 10 times for 63 yards.
"It's hard to describe how it feels," Lock said of the loss. "It's dull. It's not something that you want to repeat. I thought we did a good job during practice to get ready and make sure that this didn't happen. Now that it did, we just have to practice even harder and make sure that we don't get this feeling again."
Middle Tennessee State (4-2) jumped out to a 10-0 lead before Crockett's first touchdown made it a one-score game. The Blue Raiders held a 34-28 lead at halftime in a game that saw seven lead changes.
Missouri took its final lead of the game with 13:27 remaining in the third quarter when Crockett's fourth touchdown put the Tigers up 35-34.
The Blue Raiders only targeted seven pass catchers, with Richie James leading the way with 5 catches for 129 yards and a touchdown. Dennis Andrews added 5 catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns, including a 5-yard score with 10:31 left, extending the Blue Raiders' lead to 48-38.
Missouri tight end Kendall Blanton caught two passes for 37 yards and a touchdown and Ray Wingo caught his first pass since Sept. 10, a 17-yard touchdown.
INJURY REPORT
The Tigers lost four starters to injury, three of which occurred in the first half. Linebacker Michael Scherer and cornerback John Gibson both sustained knee injuries that sidelined them for the day. Tight end Jason Reesesustained an injury to his ribs, and defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. went down in the third quarter with a left knee injury and did not return.
THE TAKEAWAY
Missouri: The Tigers were flagged 13 times for 125 yards, allowing the Blue Raiders to extend multiple drives. In the second quarter, Missouri punter Corey Fatony booted a 57-yard punt that was called back because of an illegal motion penalty. On the ensuing re-kick, a high snap forced Fatony to dive on the ball at the Missouri 7-yard line, setting up a rushing touchdown by Richie James.
"We've got to look back and evaluate where they came from," Odom said of the penalties. "Is it technique? Is it habits in practice? That will never win. Our margin for error is so low. That's 100 hidden yards right there. Inexcusable."
Middle Tennessee State: The Blue Raiders took care of the ball the entire game. They did not turn the ball over to a Missouri defense that has 14 takeaways on the season. Missouri had two turnovers and the Blue Raiders capitalized, converting them into 10 points.
UP NEXT:
Missouri: The Tigers host Kentucky next Saturday. The Wildcats defeated Missouri last year 21-13 in Lexington.
Middle Tennessee State: The Blue Raiders play at Florida International next Saturday. Middle Tennessee won the last meeting 42-34 Oct. 17, 2015 in Murfeesboro.

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