MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- What a way to begin Conference USA play for the MTSU football team.
The Blue Raiders finished up their first season in the league with an impressive 48-17 win over UTEP last Saturday to end the season with their second consecutive 8-4 overall record, including a 6-2 mark in C-USA. Also, the squad completed the regular season and heads to a bowl game on a five-game winning streak.
“I am really proud of our team,” MTSU coach Rick Stockstill said after the game. “We had a good week of practice. We gave up an early touchdown, but for the most part I am really proud of them. I am really proud of our seniors and happy they were able to go out on a good note like this. I thought we played with a lot of passion today too and that is really good to see.”
This season had been a host of firsts for the Blue Raiders, including their first in C-USA, and playing a collection of teams for the first time in school history. One of those was last Saturday’s opponent, UTEP, who the Blue Raiders dominated from start to finish. It was also the first time since the 1991 and 1992 campaigns the program finished with back-to-back eight win seasons.
Also, the football team made last month a November to remember as it finished it with a perfect 4-0 record, and it also went 5-1 at Floyd Stadium this season. The only home loss in 2013 was to East Carolina, 24-17, in October.
However, the Blue Raiders know they have the next month to prepare for a bowl game., something they should have done last season. Right now, finding out the bowl game is the last thing on the Blue Raiders’ minds.
“We will worry about that in the next couple of weeks,” Stockstill said. “What we were worried about was finishing the season on a positive note, and we were able to do that. It was a great win and we are very happy we were able to get that this week.”
This Saturday will be the C-USA title game between Eastern Division champion, Marshall, a team MTSU beat on the last play of the game earlier this season, and Western Division champion Rice, a conference foe the Blue Raiders did not face this season.
So now the Blue Raiders will sit and wait to find out where they will be going bowling for the fourth time during the school’s Football Bowl Subdivision era, which began in 1999.
The league has six bowl-tie-ins which covers the entire nation, but most bowl projectors have the Blue Raiders either heading to Hawaii or St. Petersburg, Fla., in late December. The league also has bowl games in Dallas, Maryland, New Orleans and Memphis.
However, a lot could change since this weekend as several conference championship games will be held. Some upsets will probably occur, which could change everybody’s bowl scenario.
Regardless, what happens this month, 2013 has been one to remember for the MTSU football team.