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Sat, Apr 19, 2014

MTSU football finishes 2013 with perfect November

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The Blue Raiders football team finished off one of its goals on Saturday with a dominating 48-17 over UTEP in its 2013 season finale.

With the win, the Blue Raiders finish the season with its second consecutive 8-4 record for the first time in over 20 years. MTSU completes the regular season with five game winning streak, including a perfect 4-0 record in November.

“Coach (Rick Stockstill) talked about all the time about winning one more, and that would give us a guaranteed bowl game,” Senior wide receiver Kyle Griswould said.

During the 2013 season, the Blue Raiders protected the home turf at Floyd Stadium going 5-1 with its only home loss against East Carolina 24-17 on Oct. 5. Also, in its last 22 games in November, MTSU is now an impressive 16-6. It was one of the goals of the team heading into its season finale.

“November has been tough with practice,” Griswould said. “Coaches told to give it all you got.”

Today was also a special day for 24 seniors as it completed its final home game at Floyd Stadium. It was another star-studded class for the Blue Raiders as it leaves a legacy of becoming bowl eligible three out of the last four seasons, including the last two. Some of those seniors, who said goodbye tonight, include quarterback Logan Kilgore, wide receiver Kyle Griswould, right tackle Jimmy Staten and right corner Kenneth Gilstrap. Kilgore and Griswould have a combined 50 consecutive starts during their careers.

“It was big for us,” senior cornerback Kenneth Gilstrap said. “Coach (Stockstill) gave us a speech about finishing. It’s all about finishing, and we plan on going down to whatever bowl and finish then.”

The Blue Raiders jumped on the Miners early in the school’s first ever meeting between the schools. During the first quarter MTSU found the end zone on two separate occasions. Kilgore found junior wide out Marcus Henry for a 21 yard touchdown pass and MTSU freshman running back Shane Tucker added a one-yard score, and freshman kicker Cody Clark added a 21 yard field goal.

In the second quarter, the Blue Raiders added two more touchdowns and another field goal to take a 34-7 lead at the half. Former Smyrna standout sophomore running back Jeremiah Bryson added a 10 yard touchdown run to start the scoring, and Kilgore found senior wide out Tavarres Jefferson from 25 yards out. Right before the end of the first half, Clark added a 26 yard field goal.

MTSU’s scoring continued early in the third quarter when Bryson scored again this time from six yards out to give the Blue Raiders a 41-7 lead. Sophomore running back Jordan Parker added a 36 yard touchdown to end the scoring for MTSU.

The Blue Raiders finish with 629 yards of total offense, including a career day on the ground by Bryson, who finished with 120 yards rushing and two scores. Griswould had five catches for 101 yards, and senior quarterback Logan Kilgore finished the day passing for 325 yards and two scores.

Now, the Blue Raiders will sit and wait for its upcoming bowl trip, which will be announced next weekend after the Conference USA title game. MTSU could be selected to one of six bowl games, which includes the Liberty, Hawai’i, New Orleans, Beef O’Brady’s, Military or Heart of Dallas. However, unlike last season in which the Blue Raiders finished 8-4 and it was left out of a bowl.  

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Blue Raiders, Football, Kenneth Gilstrap, Kyle Griswould, MTSU, Rick Stockstill, Sports
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