The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders have defeated the Florida Atlantic Owls nine straight times. The games in which MTSU has been able to defeat the Owls have been excruciating as the Blue Raiders have pulled off a Hail Mary, an overtime win, and even having their wide receiver play quarterback and run for a gazillion yards.
Let’s take a look at how FAU has gotten to the point of somehow losing nine straight to Middle Tennessee.
2008: Middle Tennessee 14 FAU 13
The game was on ESPN 2 on a Tuesday night (back when the Sun Belt cornered the market for non-Thursday weekday games) and was dubbed a blackout for the MTSU faithful. Although I was in my infant stages of FAU fandom, I knew entering the game that FAU was a solid favorite and figured they’d win comfortably.
Picked to finish first in the Sun Belt after going 8-5 and winning their first Sun Belt title, the Owls went to Murfreesboro for the conference opener looking to pick up their Sun Belt winning ways.
With Rusty Smith, Di'Ivory Edgecomb, and Rob Housler the Owls boasted the best offense in the SBC entering 2008. But against MTSU they struggled mightily. Rusty Smith had perhaps the worst game of his FAU career.
Leading 13-7 with nine seconds left in the game, the Owls still had a chance to escape the upset bid and start conference play 1-0. Middle Tennessee faced a fourth-and-9 on FAU’s 32-yard line. Joe Craddock tossed a prayer into the end zone and Malcolm Beyah caught it to tie the game. Alan Gendreau would convert the extra point to give MTSU the win.
This loss was frustrating at the time mainly because it didn’t have to come to defending a Hail Mary. The Owls committed four turnovers and Howard Schnellenberger decided to kick two 25-yard field goals. The Owls outplayed MTSU and found a way to lose.
2009: Middle Tennessee 27 FAU 20
This is a game I don’t remember. All I can gather from the Internet is that it was on Halloween and according to an old video from Owl Access, special teams killed the Owls in a narrow loss.
2010: Middle Tennessee 38 FAU 14
Just a beatdown. MTSU went bowling this year and were really beginning to hit their stride under Rick Stockstill. This year could be seen as the beginning of the end of Howard Schnellenberger’s offense as the Owls only scored over 30 points once in 2010.
2011: Middle Tennessee 38 FAU 14
In just the second game in FAU Stadium history the Owls scored their first points in FAU Stadium after being shut out by WKU the week before. I was there on the sideline as a freshman. The Blue Raiders were freaking 2-10 this year. FAU got blown out by a 2-10 team. The Owls finished 1-11 with their lone win against UAB. It would be Howard Schnellenberger’s final season at FAU.
2012: Middle Tennessee 31 FAU 17
I honestly don’t remember this game. MTSU went 8-4 while FAU went 3-9 in Carl Pelini’s first season as FAU’s head coach.
2013: Middle Tennessee 42 FAU 35 in Overtime
Now this game I remember quite clearly. The Carl Pelini era really seemed to be headed in the right direction as FAU took down USF a week prior. Jaquez Johnson had a hell of a day passing and running the ball as he had five total touchdowns and really solidified that FAU has a quarterback.
Of course, FAU has a decent team right when Stockstill had one of his better MTSU squads. FAU just could not stop them on the ground that day as Reggie Whatley and Jordan Parker both rushed for over 100 yards. This was a back-and-forth game all day.
Right when it looked like FAU would lose in regulation, Johnson found Lucky Whitehead from 21 yards out on a crazy heave with seconds to go in the game to send it into overtime. But in overtime MTSU would score on their first drive and pick Johnson off to seal the game.
2014: Middle Tennessee 35 FAU 34
One of many close losses in the Charlie Partridge era. The Owls led for the majority of the game only for MTSU to march down the field against a tired defense with ease, and kick the game-winning field goal.
Charlie Partridge tried a fake punt which was pretty questionable at the time and didn’t get it, which sparked MTSU’s comeback.
Lucky Whitehead had a great game and recorded the longest play from scrimmage on the first play with an 80 yard touchdown. Once again though FAU could not stop Reggie Whatley.
2015: Middle Tennessee 24 FAU 17
Another game where FAU had chances to win and just could not come through against the Blue Raiders. Brent Stockstill found Richie James for some huge plays and spoiled FAU’s senior day. I don’t really recall much from this one, other than it being a rainy day.
2016: Middle Tennessee 77 FAU 55
Get this, Devin Singletary rushed for 235 yards and three touchdowns and I don’t remember any of it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so frustrated following a football game. A wide receiver at quarterback, and the FAU defense could not stop the run. I’Tavius Mathers and Richie James both rush for over 200 yards and sends Charlie Partridge packing.
Nine games of close calls, blowouts, an overtime ending in disappointment and a Hail Mary putting an end to a potential run to a conference title. A decade of what ifs and disappointment to Middle Tennessee. FAU football in a nut shell. If FAU can only win one more game this year, please let it be against MTSU and end this stupid losing streak.