The hype was there. The fans showed up early and tailgated all day. The Blue Raider faithful were excited and they were ready for a show. There was a buzz in the air as the stadium filled to the fullest I had seen in years. We even had fireworks for an incomplete pass? In fact, about the only thing missing last night in Floyd Stadium was the Blue Raider football team.
Where did that incredible Middle Tennessee offense go that put up points left and right all last season? Where was the team hungry to beat quality opponents? I’m not sure, but boy it wasn’t in the Blue and White Saturday night in Murfreesboro.
Vanderbilt absolutely dominated the Blue Raiders Saturday night after grabbing an early lead and never letting go, almost shutting out MTSU in the process. The life was sucked out the stadium early and there was just no stopping Vandy.
Though MTSU’s defense kept Ralph Webb in check on the ground with only 49 yards rushing, Webb did burn the MT defense with a 73 yard receiving touchdown early in the third. It was actually quarterback Kyle Shurmur who had an absolute field day Saturday night, picking apart the Raiders piece by piece.
It just seemed like the Blue Raiders could never quite get things going the way they wanted to all night long, especially on offense. Terrible line play and just dumb unforced mistakes caused huge problems all night on offense. This never allowed Middle to get a rhythm going on that side of the ball and make consistent progress.
It is the worst I have ever seen the offense play with Brent Stockstill on the field. Stock had a rough game and could never really get the time he needed. That being said, knowing that guy, this will be the last time we see anything like that from him for a while.
The MT defense started the game in a similar state as well. For a good portion of the first half, it just seemed like they were always one step behind the Vanderbilt offense. It wasn’t until about midway through the second that the defense started to cause some problems and create stops and chances for the offense.
Let’s hope that this is just the combination of a rusty offense with an inexperienced roster versus arguably the best defense Middle Tennessee will face this season.