As a quarterback for Florida State in the late-1970s and early-1980s, Rick Stockstill was part of two teams that beat Miami. As head coach of Middle Tennessee State on Saturday, Stockstill decided he wasn’t done beating the Hurricanes.
The Blue Raiders dominated the No. 25 Hurricanes from start to finish for a 45-31 victory. For Middle Tennessee, it was a banner victory as the South Florida crowd went home stunned.
For its efforts, Middle Tennessee earns the distinction of Fifth Quarter/CFBHome Team of the Week:
Domination from the Start
Throughout Saturday’s contest at Hard Rock Stadium, Middle Tennessee never trailed. Zaylin Wood set the tone less than five minutes in by returning an interception from Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke for a touchdown.
Wood would add two sacks in the victory. Decorian Patterson also recorded an interception for a Middle Tennessee team that forced three turnovers. As for Miami, it ultimately replaced Van Dyke with redshirt freshman Jake Garcia.
The story of the day, however, was the Middle Tennessee offense. Quarterback Chase Cunningham finished with 408 yards passing and four total touchdowns. Cunningham rushed for a score and threw touchdown passes of 71 yards and 98 yards to DJ England-Chisolm and 69 yards to Elijah Metcalf. Jaylin Lane also had an 89-yard reception for the Blue Raiders.
England-Chisolm (169 yards) and Lane (130 yards) combined for 299 yards receiving on just six catches. Frank Peasant powered the ground attack with 74 yards and a score. Miami managed just 60 yards rushing on 38 carries — good for just 1.6 yards per rush.
The Blue Raiders led by 21 points on four different occasions. After the first quarter, Miami never got closer than 14 points. On a day where it finished with more than 500 yards of offense, Middle Tennessee ended the game in the Miami red zone.
Defying the Odds
The final line for Saturday’s contest made Middle Tennessee a 25.5-point underdog. For a brief period of time, it appeared that might be the margin of victory for the Blue Raiders.
Entering the contest, Middle Tennessee was 0-24 all-time against AP-ranked opponents and 0-20 since making the move to FBS in 1999. Those 20 losses had come by a combined total of 585 points — an average of more than 29 per loss.
The victory over Miami is affirmation of the progress made since the start of the season. The Blue Raiders opened the year with a 44-7 loss to James Madison. They have since won three straight contests — all by at least 14 points.
Flying high at 3-1, Middle Tennessee will get ready to jump into Conference USA play. It will host UTSA on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. The contest will air nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Following a 2-0 start, Miami has dropped consecutive games to fall to 2-2. The Hurricanes will have a bye week to lick their wounds before opening ACC play at home against North Carolina.
Featured image courtesy of Middle Tennesse State athletics
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.