Birthday parties are always a huge deal.
Middle Tennessee celebrated its 100th birthday this weekend. A cake depicting the athletic complex was unveiled at halftime as the Band of Blue played Happy Birthday. TMP/ B. Roe
Getting an invite to one is always a special feeling, but there is always one person who decides to spoil the party.
On Saturday night, MTSU celebrated its 100th birthday, but the Georgia Tech football team played the party pooper by knocking off the Blue Raiders, 49-21.
The Yellow Jackets are known as one of the few teams in the nation running the triple option offense. Coming into the game, most experts figured GT was going to start the game by trying to run the ball down the Blue Raiders throats.
However, GT junior quarterback Tevin Washington shocked the MTSU record crowd of 30,502 by throwing a 73-yard TD pass to freshman A-back Tony Zenon on the very first play of the game.
“We knew they were probably going to try to play man-to-man with the defensive back, so we snuck Zenon behind and got him matched up with a linebacker,” Washington said after the game. “That was a good advantage for us.”
The Blue Raiders tried to counter on its first offense possession, but after two incomplete passes by MTSU sophomore quarterback Logan Kilgore in second and third. The Blue Raiders special teams, however, downed a punt at the Yellow Jackets 2.
Then, GT went to work and showed why the triple option works very well for them. The Yellow Jackets drove the ball 98 yards with 17 consecutive running plays, the longest being a 16-yard run on the second play by senior A-back Roddy Jones. Washington finished off the drive by scoring on two-yard quarterback keeper. The scoring drive lasted nine minutes, 25 seconds.
Blue Raider senior placekicker Alan Gendreau missed a 46-yard field goal with 2:23 left in the opening quarter.
GT got the ball back, and they went deep again, this time Washington connected with junior wide receiver Stephen Hill for a 71-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the drive.
After the first quarter, the Yellow Jackets had already jumped out to a 21-0 lead and had 242 yards of total yards compared to 68 by the Blue Raiders.
“I give Georgia Tech a lot of credit, but I think we need to look at ourselves, too,” MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill said. “We gave up three big passes early. We did not play sound football. We made mistakes on defense and on offense. We turned the ball over and missed a field goal. When you play a Georgia Tech, you can not give up big plays like we did tonight. If we could’ve made a field goal and scored one more touchdown in the first half, things would’ve looked a lot better. We just did not execute as a team tonight.”
Washington added a seven-yard TD run in the second quarter to make the score 28-0. The Blue Raiders got on the board with 3:12 left in the half on a 15-yard scamper by senior running back D.D. Kyles.
The Yellow Jackets added two more scores in the third with touchdown runs by junior A-back Orwin Smith and backup freshman quarterback Synjyn Days.
Days added another touchdown in the fourth, while MTSU scored twice in the final quarter. Blue Raider junior Benjamin Cunningham punched one in from a yard out, and backup junior quarterback Jeff Murphy found senior wide out Sancho McDonald for a 15-yard touchdown pass to end the scoring.
The Yellow Jackets had 596 yards of total offense compared to 342 for the Blue Raiders. Washington finished with 202 yards passing with two touchdown passes, while Kilgore was 16-of-28 for 114 yards.
Days had 94 yards rushing with two scores for the Yellow Jackets, while MTSU was led on the ground by Cunningham with 80 yards rushing and a score.
The Blue Raiders are off this week, while Georgia Tech hosts Kansas on Saturday. The next Blue Raider game is Sept. 24 at Sun Belt conference rival Troy.