Conference USA Championship is Murfreesboro's last chance to see special Blue Raiders team

Nov 30, 2018 at 10:30 am by joelabarker

This Blue Raiders team is special

If you've been putting it off all season, now is the time to get to a Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders football game.

Saturday afternoon at 12:30, MTSU will play host to the University of Alabama-Birmingham with the Conference USA championship on the line.

The Blue Raiders have played and won five home games this season. While they lost four road games, three of those four road losses this season came at SEC stadiums, including Georgia who will play for the SEC Championship Saturday afternoon.

Fact is, this Blue Raiders team is special.

Senior quarterback Brent Stockstill has proven his mettle all season long. His toughness and leadership ability has gotten MTSU where it is--playing for the CUSA championship.

Stockstill didn't do it alone though. Wide receivers Patrick Smith, Ty Lee, and Gatlin Kasey have been prime targets through their 12 regular-season games.

Speedster Brad Anderson was the spark plug until his season-ending injury at Florida International. Since then, Zack Dobson has picked up where Anderson left off.

Running backs Tavares Thomas, Chaton Mobley, and Terrelle West have all had their moments in the ground game as well.

The old adage "defense wins championships" has also proven true for the Blue Raiders.

Last weekend, against the same UAB team they'll face on Saturday, Khalil Brooks and DQ Thomas disrupted the Blazers offense combining for 4 and 1/2 sacks.

In September, the Middle Tennessee defense held Lane Kiffin's high-powered FAU offense at bay throughout the second half giving Stockstill and the offense a chance to come back and win.

At Marshall in October, the defense shut the Herd offense down in the game's final two quarters to win a hard-fought road game in a tough environment.

At Homecoming, against Charlotte, the MTSU defense was up to the challenge against the 49ers disrupting their offensive game plan for four quarters.

There have been numerous season highlights.

From freshman Gregory Grate returning an interception the length of the field against UT-Martin in the home-opener to Reed Blankenship doing the same at Old Dominion, the secondary has given Blue Raider fans a reason to celebrate.

From big hits delivered by DQ Thomas, Khalil Brooks, and Jovante Moffatt to big runs by Tavares Thomas, Zack Dobson, and Brad Anderson to the gutsy play of quarterback Brent Stockstill, MTSU Football in 2018 has been fun, to say the least.

At his weekly press conference Monday, head coach Rick Stockstill said, "In past championship games, the other schools haven't had great attendances. We've got a chance to change that and I hope our community comes out."

Rick's son and quarterback Brent chimed-in Monday as well.

"We take pride in playing at home and it should be a great turnout, I don't know why it wouldn't be."

There it is, Murfreesboro.

Here's your chance.

Your last chance in 2018.

If you haven't been to Floyd Stadium this season, you've already missed some great football. But lucky for you, the Blue Raiders have given you a chance to show up and show out in a championship game.

Make no mistake about it, this is an opportunity for Murfreesboro.

In case you didn't know, MTSU is actually one of the top two FBS-level teams in the state in 2018. The other 8-4 team from Tennessee, Memphis, is playing in the AAC Championship Game at No. 8 Central Florida Saturday.

There's a really good chance the Blue Raiders end up as the top NCAA football team in the state of Tennessee after Saturday's play.

If that doesn't deserve a sell-out crowd, I'm not sure what Murfreesboro is waiting on.

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