Falcons end nonconference schedule with loss

By Zane Miller and By Zane Miller

The Falcons football team fell to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 24-13 Saturday night, the team’s final non-conference opponent before heading into Mid-American Conference play next week.

    “I thought (Middle Tennessee) ran the ball well in the first half,” Falcons head coach Mike Jinks said. “That allowed their quarterback to settle down and make some throws. … We needed to put pressure on him in the second half, and that worked.”

    The game started with Middle Tennessee getting a touchdown on a short run halfway through the first quarter, along with an extra point to go up 7-0 early. However, the Falcons were able to respond about two minutes later in the game, as freshman quarterback Jarret Doege connected with junior wide receiver Scott Miller on a 60 yard touchdown pass, tying the game up.

    In the second, it was Middle Tennessee recovering to regain the lead 14-7 on a short passing touchdown, but again the Falcons came back with another score on their next drive, this time with a field goal from junior kicker Jake Suder to make it a 14-10 game. However, Middle Tennessee returned the favor not long after, as a 64 yard touchdown pass gave them a two possession advantage to go into halftime.

    The offense slowed down significantly in the third quarter for both teams, as the only score in the third was another Suder field goal, bringing the Middle Tennessee lead back down to just one possession. The Falcons would be unable to make a comeback as Middle Tennesee put up another field goal in the fourth to eventually take the 24-13 win.

    The team feels they were able to turn their game around significantly in the second half versus the first half and that playing more consistently throughout games going forward will be important against MAC opponents.

    “I didn’t think they played very well in the first half at all,” Jinks said. “They came in at halftime and made some adjustments, and they played better in the second half.”

    The team also struggled with the rushing game throughout the night, as they were only able to get a total of one rushing yard on 29 carries, or .03 yards per carry, to Middle Tennessee’s 243 total yards rushing.

    “It’s extremely worrisome,” Jinks said. “If we don’t start running the ball better, it’s going to be a long season.”

    The team will next play Saturday night to open up their MAC schedule at home against the Akron Zips.