After a brief weather delay, The Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders stormed the Miami Hurricanes, upsetting them 45-31 in front of a frustrated South Florida crowd at Hard Rock Stadium. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Garica led Miami with 169 passing yards in relief of Tyler Van Dyke. Henry Parrish Jr. was the leading rusher yet again with 57 yards, but left the game with an injury in the third quarter. Key’Shawn Smith was the top receiver with four receptions for 81 yards.
It was an eventful first quarter. MTSU took advantage of two Van Dyke interceptions, setting up short fields for their offense. The Blue Raiders led 10-0 only five minutes into the game. Not to be outdone by his quarterback, Miami running back Jaylon Knighton lost a fumble on the third possession of the game. The Hurricanes immediately returned the favor with an interception by safety Kameron Kitchens.
After an Andres Borregales 39-yard field goal for the Miami, MTSU answered with a 71-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chase Cunningham to wide receiver DJ England-Chisolm. The quarter ended with the Blue Raiders on top, 17-3.
Miami began the second quarter unable to convert a fourth down inside the Blue Raider’s 10-yard line. This led to MTSU extending their lead to 24-3 after a Cunningham 9-yard touchdown run. It was set up by an 89-yard catch-and-run by receiver Jaylin Lane.
The Hurricanes finally scored a touchdown late in the second quarter on Henry Parrish’s 6-yard touchdown reception on fourth down, their third fourth down conversion of the drive. MTSU led 24-10 at halftime.
The Blue Raiders went up by 21 points again after a 69-yard strike from Cunningham to receiver Elijah Metcalf. Miami responded by replacing the struggling Van Dyke with the aforementioned Garcia. The moved paid off as the Hurricanes scored a touchdown in less than two minutes, with running back Thad Franklin Jr. diving in from one-yard out.
Miami began the fourth quarter with another failed fourth down conversion, this time on MTSU’s two-yard line, when a Garcia pass to tight end Will Mallory fell incomplete. MTSU made the Hurricanes pay immediately with a 98-yard scoring bomb from Cunningham to England-Chisolm for a 38-17 lead, their second long hookup of the day.
The Hurricanes answered with a 91-yard kickoff return touchdown by Key’Shawn Smith, bringing the deficit back to 14 points.
After a fourth down stop by Miami at the 3:45 mark, they were unable to convert one of their own. MTSU then ran the clock out to end the game.
Next up: Miami has an open week, then hosts UNC on October 8th. Middle Tennessee State returns home to take on UTSA on September 30th at 7:30 EST.