Rice stuns MTSU for their 1st win of the season
The Blue Raiders drop their 4th game in their last five outings with a loss to the Rice Owls. This loss is microcosm of MTSU's season.
This season has been marred by slow starts and inconsistency on both sides of the football.
When asked if the cause of the slow start was an effort and mindset problem Coach Stockstill responded, "Performance. It had nothing to do with mindset. It was performance. When you get beat three times over the top that's performance. When you can't move the ball offensively, and you're 3-and-out and can't convert first downs that's performance..."
The first offensive snap for MTSU resulted in a fumble that setup Rice at the MTSU 24 yard line. The Owls capitalized with a field goal to take the early lead.
The next three possessions for MTSU ended in punts, and Rice added two touchdown passes from Tom Stewart to Brad Rozner to take a commanding 17-0 lead with 11:27 remaining in the half.
The Blue Raiders offense showed some life as Asher O'Hara ran it in from 1 yard out to finish off a 9 play 74 yard drive.
The defense got a much needed stop, and forced a punt. Starting at their own 10 yard line, Asher O'hara dropped back to pass and delivered a 90 yard bomb to Ty Lee for the score, cutting the score to 14-17.
A great return by Nahshon Ellerbe of the Rice Owls set them up with great field position at the MTSU 40 yard line. The Owls took advantage and scored a touchdown on a 2 play 40 yard drive, extending the lead to 24-14 with 4:31 remaining in the half.
The fourth MTSU punt of the half led to another Rice Owl touchdown. Tom Stewart connected with Brad Rozner for their third score of the game.
With just over 14 seconds remaining in the first half, MTSU had the ball on their own 25 yard line. Trying to make a play to cut into the lead, Asher O'Hara threw an interception.
At the half the score was Rice 31 MTSU 14.
During the second half, the MTSU defense stepped up in a big way allowing zero points and 115 total yards.
The offense also showed some life adding a couple of touchdowns and over 200 total yards. They even added a late score with under four minutes left to cut the lead to three. As it turned out, the slow start proved to be too much to overcome.
The Blue Raiders fell to the winless Rice Owls by a score of 28-31.
Next Saturday MTSU is looking for their fourth win of the season when they take on Old Dominion at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN3
Reporter: Jimmie Covington