MTSU vs Troy
28010 in attendance (2nd largest in MTSU history)
Blue Raider QB Dwight Dasher was able to come back from his 4 game suspension to do battle with 2-2 Troy.
The Blue Raiders took the first kickoff but they were unable to produce offensively and were forced to punt. A story which remained true most of the game. On the ensuing Trojan possession Troy was able to move the ball at easy, scoring on a 8 play 55 yard drive with a shovel pass from Hampton to Jernigan. MTSU looking to rebound from their first drive set up at their own 25 yard line. The play call was a QB keeper as Dasher took the ball to the left side of the field and picked up 7 yards, but dislocated his left pinkie finger.
Jeff Murphy came in for the injured Dasher, but he had no better luck as he was sacked and fumbled the ball giving the Trojans possession at the MTSU 17, and it didn’t take Troy long to capitalize on the Blue Raider miscue as Corey Robinson connected with Tebiarus Gill on 3rd down to put the Trojans up 14-0. The Trojans controlled the 1st quarter on both sides of the ball ending it with 17 plays for 100 yards compared to MTSU 15 plays for 11 yards.
Dasher was able to return at the beginning of the 2nd quarter, but was unable to pick up a 1st down on a 3rd and short which resulted in the Blue Raiders punting yet again. After MTSU forced Troy to punt Dasher took over again at their own 28, but again punted as MTSU’s offense was unable to get the ball moving.
Jamie Hampton took control of the Trojan offense with 8:30 remaining in the 2nd quarter, and as he was rushing to the right hand side he was hit by 2 MTSU players and went down hard, resulting in a broken leg. Corey Robinson steps in as QB and completes a pass to Jerrel Jernigan for 14 yards giving Jernigan the Sunbelt Conference record for career reception yards. Troy didn’t stop there as AJ Taylor carried the ball in from 3 yards out to give the Trojans a 21 point lead with 6:06 remaining in the half. (7 plays -56 yards – 2:30)MTSU-0 Troy-21
After punts by both teams, Dasher and the Blue Raiders offense showed the spark that they were missing in the 1st quarter, as they moved down the field eating up all but 1:05 as Dasher took the QB keeper up the middle from 1 yard out to bring it to a 2 score game.(9 plays-63 yards -2:05)MTSU-7 Troy-21
As docile as the Blue Raider defense was the first half, it was not to be out done by the offense, as they were only able to put up 82 yards during the first half as they gave up 201 yards.
The second half started to much of the same tune that the 1st half started, MTSU was moving the ball steadily down the field until Dasher was pass attempt was intercepted, giving the Trojans good field possession. Corey Robinson was accurate throughout the drive as he and Jernigan connected multiple times enroute to a 34 yard field goal attempt that was blocked by MTSU’s Jamari Lattimore.
MTSU was unable to produce any points off of the blocked field goal as penalties and dropped passes contributed to yet another punt. The defense however was able to step up, as they deflected a 3 down pass attempt, and gave Dasher another chance to lead the Blue Raiders down the field.
MTSU was again unable to provide any offensive production and once again punted the ball back to the Trojans. Robinson showed everyone at Floyd Stadium the reason why he is averaging 311 yards passing per game as he lead the Trojans down the field and completed another touchdown pass to Tebiarus Gill, giving them a 3 score lead yet again.
On the next Middle Tennessee drive Dasher was able to get open and break lose for a 22 yard gain, but it was all in vain as they again failed to convert a 3rd down attempt and were forced to punt. After repeated punts by both teams, Robinson once again got the Trojan offense moving down the field as he connected with Jamel Johnson from 7 yards out. Giving the Trojans a 35-7 lead. MTSU never gave up as they drove down the field and Dwight Dasher capped off the 9 play 66 yard drive as he scored on the keeper from 2 yards out with 4:27 remaining in the game. Troy’s DuJuan Harris took the first handoff 41 yards to add one more touchdown to make the final score MTSU 13 – Troy 42
My take on the game:
The Blue Raiders were unable to provide the offensive production needed to take some pressure off of their defense and special teams. Some of Dasher’s passes looked low or behind the intended recievers. Perhaps it was the limited practice reps that the first stringers had with Dwight Dasher, maybe Dasher was trying to get re-adjusted to the speed of the game. It is impossible to tell but I wouldn’t take this game as a measure of the talent that MTSU possesses. Middle Tennessee has shown flashes of their potential throughout the year and I expect that they will regain that team chemistry that they seemed to be missing tonight as Dwight Dasher and the rest of the MTSU offense get more practice reps.