Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Miracle in Middle Tennessee

MTSU 14, FAU 13Where: Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TennesseeAttendance: 25,766Records: FAU:1-4, 0-1 SBC; MTSU: 2-3, 1-2 SBC

Murfreesboro, Tenn. – A desperation heave by Joe Craddock ended up safely in the hands of Malcolm Beyah, delivering a stunning 14-13 come-from-behind victory for Middle Tennessee.

“It’s one of those times,” says running back DiIvory Edgecomb. “You just hope it doesn’t happen to you.”

Thanks to the Blue Raiders, and the 25,667 fans charged up and all dressed in black, FAU emerged from their conference opener with a black eye. Middle Tennessee scored both of their touchdowns in the last 5:22 of the game.

FAU quarterback Rusty Smith threw two interceptions and had no touchdowns for the third straight game, but DiIvory Edgecomb broke the Owls’ eight quarter touchdown drought on the game’s first drive with a 53-yard run. It was part of a 101-yard effort from Edgecomb.

First Quarter: FAU 7, MTSU 0Edgecomb took a pitch to Smith’s left, charged through the middle of the field and then broke free to the right for a 53-yard touchdown run on the Owls’ first drive. It was the first FAU touchdown after a two game drought. After an MTSU punt, Smith was intercepted on a bobbled ball by Cortez Gent, giving the Blue Raiders the ball near midfield. With the Raiders at the FAU 20, and facing third down, defensive end Josh Hancock sacked MTSU quarterback Joe Craddock and a 15-yard penalty pushed the Raiders out of field goal range.

Second Quarter: FAU 10, MTSU 0MTSU turned the ball over on downs and Smith completed two passes each to Chris Bonner and to Rob Housler, mixed with runs by Edgecomb and three more penalties on a drive that ended on the 1-yard line with an Edgecomb fumble. With their backs against the end zone, the Raiders ran three times and returned the ball to the Owls via a punt. On the next drive, a 27-yard pass to Conshario Johnson put the Owls into scoring position at the Raiders’ 16. But a touchdown proved elusive again and Warley Leroy kicked a 25-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead with 3:19 to play in the half.

Third Quarter: FAU 10, MTSU 0 The Raiders made a steady march down to the 6-yard line on the second half’s opening drive. Facing fourth-and-inches, Raiders coach Rick Stockstill elected to go for it and Craddock’s quarterback sneak up the middle was stopped by the Owls. The key defensive stop was one of the highlight of a supreme defensive game from FAU. Later in the quarter, defensive back Tavious Polo made the hit of the night, a perfectly-timed spear tackle that forced a dropped pass and stalled another MTSU drive. Minutes later, Smith threw his second interception of the game, an off-balance throw into double coverage that gave MTSU the ball back with 3:16 left. But the FAU defense refused to break, forcing a three-and-out.

Fourth Quarter: MTSU 14, FAU 13A Lester Jean fumble re-energized the crowd and the Raiders, giving hope of a comeback bid. MTSU took over possession shy of midfield and quickly moved into Owls territory, but the defense stepped up again and forced a punt. On the next MTSU possession, Craddock hit Patrick Hunnycut with a 25-yard touchdown pass with 5:22 remaining, making the score 10-7. With the ball and the lead, FAU stayed on the ground and controlled the clock. Facing a fourth down deep in Raiders territory, Schnellenberger elected to kick a field goal. Leroy converted the 25-yard kick, making the score 13-7. With a minute to go, MTSU had to travel 70 yards for a tying touchdown. Craddock led the way, finding Beyah as time expired. Alan Gendreau made the extra point and the Raiders stole the win.

Key play: Trailing 13-7, Joe Craddock launched a 32-yard pass into the end zone as time expired. Malcolm Beyah emerged from a crowd of FAU defenders with the ball, sealing a crushing defeat for FAU.

“They made the play when they had the opportunity to win the game,” Schnellenberger says.

Turning point: FAU had four turnovers, the most painful of which was an Edgecomb fumble on the MTSU 1-yard line. Rusty Smith threw two interceptions and Lester Jean lost a fumble as well. Overall, the FAU offense failed to exhibit the kind of attack that was seen so often last season.

Stats: FAU RB DiIvory Edgecomb: 15 carries for 101 yards, touchdownMTSU QB Joe Craddock: 24-of-35, 268 yards, two touchdownsMTSU WR Malcolm Beyah: Five catches, 90 yards, game tying touchdown catch with 0:00 on the clockMTSU WR Patrick Hunnycut: Nine catches, 113 yards, touchdownFAU offense: Four turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions)

Quotable: “It’s a typical example of what happens when you have opportunities to score and throughout the course of the game you don’t score and you get in a one score situation and they make a Hail Mary type of a pass to beat you. It’s tough to deal with. But you have to be mature enough to understand that there were some very, very good things in that game, particularly from the defense.” – FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger on MTSU’s miracle comeback.

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