MTSU Falls to 0-3 with 37-35 Loss to UTSA

Photo: Nathan Wallach/Athletic Communications

MT Athletics

Middle Tennessee fell on the road Friday night at UTSA after a valiant comeback attempt.
 
The Blue Raiders (0-3, 0-1) battled back in the fourth quarter but ran out of time against the Roadrunners (3-0, 1-0), falling at the Alamodome 37-35.
 
“I hurt for these guys,” Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill said. “We put a lot into it … but a couple of turnovers put our defense on the short side, and we didn’t make some plays when we had an opportunity to make them.
 
“Our guys played really hard and competed their tails off. We just did some stupid things throughout the course of the game.”
 
Redshirt junior quarterback Asher O’Hara rebounded from two first-half interceptions to lead MT back in the second half, throwing three touchdowns.
 
After the Blue Raiders took the lead in the third quarter on a 24-yard rushing score from redshirt junior running back Chaton Mobley, his third touchdown on the night, UTSA responded with back-to-back scores to take a 34-23 lead into the final frame.
 
O’Hara connected with sophomore DJ England-Chisolm on a 26-yard strike to bring MT within five points early in the fourth quarter, but a Roadrunner field goal that pushed the lead back to eight points proved to be enough.
 
Redshirt junior Yusuf Ali took a pass 6 yards for a score with 1:04 left in the game, and the Blue Raiders had a chance to tie with a two-point conversion, but O’Hara’s pass fell incomplete in the back of the end zone.
 
“We were just sick of getting our teeth kicked in … and we had some good momentum going and had some good tempo on offense,” O’Hara said. “We just left some things out there.”
 
O’Hara completed 31-of-47 passes for 372 yards, a career high, to go with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed 21 times for 61 yards.
 
Senior Jarrin Pierce set a personal best for the second game in a row, this time with 107 receiving yards on eight catches, his first 100-yard game. Ali finished with eight catches for 86 yards, both career highs, and England-Chisolm had four catches for 85 yards and a score.
 
On the ground, Mobley finished with 54 yards on 13 attempts for two touchdowns, adding to 20 receiving yards and another score. Senior Jayy McDonald also had 76 rushing yards on just seven attempts, including a long 64-yarder with the Blue Raiders backed against their own end zone that led to a TD.
 
After two games where the offense didn’t look the way Stockstill wanted, especially in the ground attack, he saw a lot to be proud of Friday. They outgained the Roadrunners 563-391 and controlled the tempo, running 89 plays and holding the ball for 35:40, compared to 24:20 for UTSA.
 
“I thought Chaton really ran hard. He had some really tough, physical runs,” Stockstill said. “We did run the ball more effectively than we have in a long time.”
 
Junior safety Gregory Grate Jr. led the defense with seven tackles and an interception, and fellow safety Reed Blankenship also had seven tackles. Senior linebacker DQ Thomas added five tackles and a sack.
 
“We left some plays out there on the back end … but we have some things to build on,” Grate said.
 
The Blue Raiders will look for their first win of the season on homecoming against WKU next week.
 
“I think we’re getting better. We just have to keep believing in one another,” Stockstill said. “We’ll get back to work tomorrow and prepare for Western.”

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