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Halftime Report from T-Town

By : Ryan Martinolich

Tuscaloosa, AL - The first half of the opening game for the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders has not been a kind one. Early mistakes and penalties have led to an Alabama Crimson Tide lead of 28-0 into the break.

The Crimson Tide won the coin toss and deferred. The Blue Raiders started the game with a three-and-out, only for the first punt of the game to lead to an MTSU ejection as junior cornerback Deonte Stanley was called for targeting. Alabama got off to a great start as the ground game bullied their way through the Blue Raider defense, enroute to a 21-yard touchdown scamper by sophomore quarterback Jalen Milroe.

Blue Raider quarterback Nicholas Vattiato was in scramble mode for most of the half, as offensive line breakdowns gave the Crimson Tide free runs into the backfield, leading to three sacks and five quarterback hurries.

There were signs of optimism in the second quarter, with the Blue Raiders down 14 points, two defensive stops led to positive offense, with Vattiato marching the Blue Raiders into Alabama territory, however missed opportunities in the endzone and mistakes upfront led to a missed field goal, and the only chance for Blue Raider points.

Penalties have only made things worse as MTSU was called for seven first-half penalties for 74 yards, stalling many Blue Raider drives and giving the Crimson Tide better opportunities in MTSU territory.

Two more Jalen Milroe touchdowns, one in the air to sophomore receiver Isaiah Bond, and one with his legs, have given the Crimson Tide the first half lead. MTSU only has 112 yards of total offense, with Vattiato going 12 for 22 and 63 yards in the air, and freshman running back Jekail Middlebrook is the Blue Raiders leading rusher with 18 yards on four carries.


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