MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee set a school record for most total yards and piled up 70-plus points for the second time in three games on the way to a resounding 73-14 win against Charlotte in the C-USA opener for both teams.
The Blue Raiders (2-1, 1-0) also scored the second most points in program history with the 73. They were three short of the school record. It also marks the only time in program history that the Blue Raiders have scored 70 or more in the same season.
Middle Tennessee’s defense was as dominant as the offense was. The Blue Raiders held Charlotte to 219 yards total offense (117 rushing, 102 passing). They also forced seven turnovers (four interceptions, three fumbles) and scored 31 points off of those miscues.
Jeremy Cutrer had two interceptions and a fumble recovery, leading to 17 points for Middle Tennessee. Darius Harris had an interception return for a touchdown and forced a fumble. Steven Rhodes had a forced fumble and fumble recovery, while Alex Dale also had a forced fumble. Quay Watt also had a fumble recovery for the Blue Raiders.
Middle Tennessee took full control in the opening quarter when it set a school record for most points in a stanza with 42. The Blue Raiders scored four touchdowns in the final 3:11 of the first quarter as they staked claim to a 42-7 lead after the first 15 minutes. Their 40 first-half points also set a school record for most points in a half.
Five of the Blue Raiders’ seven first-half touchdown drives covered two plays or less, including three that covered just one play.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Brent Stockstill continued to dominate with a sterling performance. He was 23-for-27 with 369 yards and an amazing five touchdown. His five touchdown passes rank second most in a single game, and they are the most in a game by a Blue Raider freshman signal caller.
Two receivers surpassed the 100-yard mark and hauled in multiple-scoring passes. It marked the first time Middle Tennessee has had two 100-yard receivers in the same game since 2012 against North Texas. Terry Pettis had four receptions for 167 yards and two touchdowns, while Ed Batties had five catches for 120 yards and three touchdowns.
The ground game wouldn’t be left out. Jordan Parker had surpassed 100 yards by halftime and finished with 142 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns. Reserve Desmond Anderson finished with 102 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries as Middle Tennessee rushed for 316 yards in all.
Middle Tennessee struck first when Pettis hauled in a 76-yard touchdown pass from Stockstill. Cody Clark‘s extra point provided a 7-0 lead with 11:52 remaining in the first quarter. It was the longest reception of Pettis’ career and the longest pass of Stockstill’s.
Parker followed with a 62-yard run on Middle Tennessee’s next drive. Clark again added the point after. Each of Middle Tennessee’s first two scoring drives were two plays. The Blue Raiders actually had to work for their third score, going 80 yards on seven plays, culminating with Parker’s second score – a 4-yard run. Clark’s extra point staked the Blue Raiders to a 21-0 cushion.
They were far from finished.
After Charlotte recovered and returned an onside kick 48 yards for a score, Middle Tennessee picked up where it had left off.
Pettis hauled in another bomb from Stockstill for his second touchdown of the quarter. The play went 75 yards as the Blue Raiders went on top 28-7. Batties then got in on the action as he caught three touchdown passes from Stockstill on the team’s next three drives. Batties hauled in scoring passes of 9-, 35-, and 59-yards.
Charlotte tacked on a score just before halftime to close to within 49-14 heading into the half.
Middle Tennessee added three more scores in the third quarter. Parker’s third touchdown of the game – a 2-yard run, provided a 56-14 lead with 9:11 remaining in the frame.
Clark added a 31-yard field goal with 6:18 remaining and Darius Harris scored on a 42-yard interception return near the end of the third quarter as Middle Tennessee extended its cushion to 66-14.
Desmond Anderson capped the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run with 9:06 remaining.
Middle Tennessee will hit the road when it faces Big Ten member Illinois next Saturday.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE POSTGAME NOTES
CRAZY QUARTER: Middle Tennessee blew open the first quarter by scoring 42 points which went down as the most ever in a quarter in school history and fell seven shy of the NCAA record of 49. The Blue Raiders churned out 369 total yards of offense in the quarter compared to 43 by the 49ers. MT completed 11 of 12 passes for 230 yards. The previous high for points in a quarter was 35 set against Morehead State in 1992.
LONG DISTANCE HOOKUP: Middle Tennessee’s 76-yard touchdown in the first quarter went down as career longs for both quarterback Brent Stockstill and tight end Terry Pettis. Stockstill’s previous long pass completion was 49 yards while Pettis’ long prior to that play was a 59 yarder against Southern Miss last year.
PARKER TOPS 100: Senior running back Jordan Parker notched his 11th career 100-yard rushing game in the win over the Charlotte 49ers. Parker finished with 142 yards and a personal best three touchdowns to record his first 100-yard game since gaining exactly 100 against Marshall last season.
HUGE NIGHT FOR STOCKSTILL: Redshirt freshman QB Brent Stockstill continued his strong season with a career night in the win over Charlotte. Stockstill completed 23 of 27 (.851) passes for a career-high 369 yards and a freshman record five touchdowns. The five touchdown passes equalled the second most in school history and fell one shy of the school mark. Stockstill only played three quarters.
PETTIS HAS CAREER DAY: Junior tight end Terry Pettis turned in a career night for the Blue Raiders. Pettis hauled in four passes for a career-best 167 yards and a personal-best two touchdowns. The 167 yards tied for the ninth most in a single game at MT. Pettis also turned in his career long receptions of 76 yards and quickly followed with a 75 yarder – all in the first quarter.
CUTRER WREAKING HAVOC: Junior Jeremy Cutrer made a strong push for C-USA Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording a career-best two interceptions in the win over Charlotte to go with a fumble recovery. Cutrer now leads the team with three picks on the season.
HARRIS PICK 6: Freshman linebacker Darius Harris registered his first career interception late in the first quarter and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown. It marked the second interception returned for a TD this season.
OFFENSIVE RECORD: Middle Tennessee broke the school record for most offensive yards in a game with 695, besting the previous mark of 685 set against Idaho, Oct. 6, 2001. The Blue Raiders’ 73 points are the second most in a game and the most scored under Rick Stockstill. Middle Tennessee has now scored 143 points in their first two home games (70 vs. Jackson State, 73 vs. Charlotte).
DEFENSIVE PROWESS: Middle Tennessee’s defense was outstanding in the C-USA win. The Blue Raiders held Charlotte to 219 total yards (117 rushing, 102 passing). More impressive, Middle Tennessee’s defense forced seven turnovers (four interceptions, three fumble recoveries) and scored 31 points off of the turnovers. Jeremy Cutrer hauled in two INTS, giving him three in two games. Darius Harris scored on an interception return.
QUICK HITTERS: In two home games this season, Middle Tennessee has scored a combined 91 points … Middle Tennessee had two players go over 100 yards receiving in the same game for the first time since Oct. 27, 2012 against North Texas … Kevin Byard and James Roberson played in their team leading 40th career game today … Kevin Byard‘s streak of 39 straight games started came to an end today and now the consecutive start leader is LB T.T. Barber who has now started in 31 straight games… DB Mike Minter made his first collegiate start tonight against Charlotte … Jordan Parker‘s 62-yard TD run was the 13th of his career and first of the season, then he added his 14th later in the quarter … MT is now a perfect 3-0 in Conference USA openers … Brent Stockstill‘s 85.1 completion percentage went down as the fourth best total in school history … LB Myles Harges registered the first interception of his career