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The Blue Raiders lose in a "disappointing" outcome after retiring Kevin Byard's number

Updated: May 3, 2023

By Darius White

MTN Sports Reporter

Friday night’s black out game at Floyd Stadium saw the return of the Blue Raiders at home after upsetting #25 Miami last week.

The Blue Raiders in their conference opener this season battled against defending Conference USA Champions, The UTSA Roadrunners.

After a scoreless start by the Blue Raiders in the first quarter, MTSU would get their first seven points at the beginning of the second quarter from running back Darius Bracy’s 53-yard run making the score 10-7.

MTSU added 13 more points to their total in the second while UTSA scored 3 touchdowns of their own, increasing their lead to 11 at halftime with a score of 31-20.

During the intermission, MTSU retired Tennessee Titan Safety Kevin Byard’s #20 jersey.

Byard played all four years for MTSU leading the school all time with 19 interceptions and now is only the second player in MTSU history to have his number retired.

“Trying very hard right now to not get emotional,” Byard said during his speech. “You have no idea what this means.”

Byard ended his speech and second half kickoff would begin after a performance by the Band of the Blue.

The Roadrunners were looking to runaway with the game scoring on their first drive of the third quarter putting the tally at 38-20.

They were led down the field by UTSA Quarterback Frank Harris who set a new school record throwing for 414-yards in the game.

The second half did however see an increase in production by the Blue Raiders’ defense with UTSA’s Harris also throwing 3 interceptions in the second half.

The second interception came from Defensive Lineman Jordan Branch, who would run the ball for a touchdown from UTSA 40-yard line, bringing the game within 8 points in the fourth by a score of 38-30.

“The game is never over,” said MTSU Redshirt Junior Decorian Patterson who caught two of Harris’s passes with one giving MTSU the opportunity to tie the game with 7:03 left.

During the following MTSU drive, UTSA would receive a roughing the passer penalty on third and nine.

If the penalty had not been thrown, the play would have given the Roadrunners a defensive touchdown and MTSU Quarterback Chase Cunningham one interception for the game.

The penalty would extend the Raiders drive with a new set of downs and a 15-yard boost.

This wouldn’t be enough, as the Raiders would go four and out leading to the final touchdown by UTSA, making the final score 45-30.

“Disappointing that we got beat,” said MTSU Head Football Coach Rick Stockstill after the game.

Yesterday’s loss puts MTSU at 3-2 on the season also losing against their first in-conference opponent.

Next week the Blue Raiders hit the road to face another Conference USA opponent in the University of Alabama Birmingham.

“Put our head down and work,” said Redshirt Sophomore Zalyn Woods when speaking about next week’s matchup. “We just need to put (the loss) behind us and focus on our next opponent.”


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