The Blue Raider defense put North Texas in multiple precarious situations and the Mean Green had no answer as Middle Tennessee won 48-28 on Saturday. Middle’s defense forced four interceptions and two safeties to lead the Blue Raiders to its third straight victory.
Erik Walden and Tavares Jones led the way for the Blue Raider defense. Walden had a safety, three tackles for loss, and an interception. Jones recorded the other safety while also forcing a fumble and grabbing an interception as well. Damon Nickson also contributed nicely recording two interceptions.
The special teams unit was critical to the victory as punter David DeFatta did his best to put North Texas in terrible field position all night. DeFatta had three of his punts downed at the one-yard line, two of those resulting in safeties. He also nailed a 39-yard field goal in the first quarter.
On offense, DeMarco McNair took control by scoring two rushing touchdowns along with a receiving touchdown. Taron Henry caught six passes for 103 yards and found the end zone on a 51-yard connection from Dwight Dasher.
Speaking of Dasher, the news wasn’t as bright for him. He was forced to leave the game late in the first half with a leg injury and did not return to action. He put up another efficient game before leaving going 16-of-21 with two touchdowns.
Middle Tennessee (4-5, 3-1) took a 30-21 lead into halftime and looked to build on that lead in the third quarter. However, it was North Texas who scored first when quarterback Giovanni Vizza called his own number and scrambled for a two-yard touchdown to bring the Mean Green within two points.
The Blue Raiders would shutout the Mean Green from there, however, scoring two touchdowns and recording the two safeties to seal the victory and move into a tie for second place in the Sun Belt Conference standings.
Middle Tennessee now controls its own destiny to at least share the conference title thanks to its win coupled with Florida Atlantic’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe. The Blue Raiders will get a taste of what Louisiana-Monroe has to offer as they travel to Louisiana next Saturday to face the Warhawks.