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BOCA RATON, Fla. — A tough road contest didn’t end in Middle Tennessee’s favor Saturday.
The Blue Raiders (2-4, 1-1) traveled to Boca Raton, Fla., to take on the streaking Florida Atlantic Owls (4-2, 2-0) and fell 28-13. It was just the second time in the last 12 matchups in the series that ended with an Owls’ victory.
Middle Tennessee was rolling in the first half, taking a slim 13-12 advantage into halftime after racking up 274 yards while holding the high-powered FAU offense to 192.
The Blue Raiders’ defense had a good showing despite the loss, holding the Owls to 364 total yards and coming up with six tackles for loss. FAU went into the game averaging 420.8 yards per game, and MT held quarterback Chris Robison (second in C-USA with 282.4 passing yards per outing) to just 145 yards.
Middle Tennessee’s hot start didn’t carry over to the third quarter, as the Blue Raiders were held scoreless with just 91 total yards while the Owls scored 10 to take a 22-13 lead into the final frame.
It looked as if MT would start clawing back into the game early in the fourth after a long drive that took it to the FAU 16, but after a loss of 5 yards and a penalty, Crews Holt came in to attempt a 38-yard field goal and missed.
The Blue Raiders’ threat effectively ended there, as redshirt sophomore quarterback Asher O’Hara was picked off for the second and third time in the game on their next two drives, the last coming in the end zone . Middle Tennessee hadn’t turned the ball over in three games heading into Saturday but were forced into three — all interceptions — against the Owls.
O’Hara had a good day other than the INTs, throwing for 335 yards and a touchdown and leading the Raiders with 57 rushing yards on 17 carries with another TD.
Junior Jarrin Pierce was O’Hara’s leading receiver with 82 yards on three catches. Senior Ty Lee caught eight balls for 45 yards, while CJ Windham had one catch, a 30-yard touchdown.
Defensively, MT was led by junior safety Reed Blankenship, who finished with 13 tackles, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. Linebacker DQ Thomas had five tackles, two for loss, and defensive end Tyshun Render had four and two pass breakups.
The Blue Raiders will try to get back on the right side of the scoreboard in another road game next week against North Texas. Hear the game live on 93.9 the Duck.