Middle Tennessee put together a blistering 510 yards of offense and used five Benny Cunningham touchdowns to upend the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 49-28, in front of 39,270 at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday afternoon (9/29/2012).
The tough Georgia Tech (2-3) option was no match for the Raiders (3-1), who used a balanced attack of 264 yards rushing and 246 yards passing. Both teams went to the locker room at the half with a 21-21 tie.
In the third quarter, the Raiders responded with a pair of big offensive plays. Cunningham ran for 23 yards to put Middle Tennessee up 28-21. Just nine minutes later, Georgia Tech failed on a fourth down conversion. On the next play, Logan Kilgore tossed a 75-yard strike to Marcus Henry to pad the Raiders lead by 14.
Georgia Tech added their only second half touchdown from Tevin Washington, but it wasn't enough as Middle Tennessee put together huge defensive stops and two more touchdowns to seal the victory.
Cunningham, a Nashville native, blistered the Yellow Jacket offense with 27 carries for 217 yards and five touchdowns. The performance was 10th all-time in a game by a Blue Raider tailback. He set career highs in carries, yardage and touchdowns. The five touchdowns was the second all-time performance, tied with Phillip Tanner's mark set against North Texas on Nov. 22, 2008.
Logan Kilgore earned his 10th 200-yard passing game, connecting on 17-of-23 for 246 yards and two touchdowns. Kyle Griswould led the receivers with six grabs for 59 yards, while Anthony Amos had three receptions for 36 yards.
The MT defense held its own, allowing just 238 Georgia Tech rushing yards for 425 total yards. The front line boasted four sacks for a loss of 29 yards.
T.T. Barber had a breakout performance, collecting 11 tackles, including 10 solo, along with two tackles-for-loss and a critical forced fumble. Leighton Gasque had two big sacks that ended Georgia Tech's ability to win the game in the fourth.
Saturday's victory gave Middle Tennessee their third win over an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) program and first ever over Georgia Tech. MT last knocked off an ACC foe in Maryland, 32-31, in 2009 at College Park. The Raiders' first ACC win came against the Terps, 24-14, at Floyd Stadium in 2008.
The first half opened up with blistering speed as both teams combined for 42 points and 486 yards. To start the game, Georgia Tech capitalized on a MT interception. The short field set up a 33-yard rush by Orwin Smith to put the Jackets inside the five yardline. Washington capped off the drive with a one yard touchdown.
The Blue Raiders responded with a 75-yard, five minute scoring drive. Kilgore threw a 21-yard dart to Jacob Corbaley to set up MT inside the redzone.
Senior Anthony Amos made a spectacular one-hand grab to give MT its first touchdown in the game.
Cunningham opened the second quarter with a 60-yard scamper to give the Blue Raiders a 14-7 advantage. The rush by Cunningham was the longest of his career.
After a pair of swamped fumbles within two plays, the Yellow Jackets capitalized on a 69-yard drive to tie the game with a three-yard touchdown from Washington at the 9:33 mark.
MT continued to answer offensively with an 88-yard drive that culminated with a Cunningham touchdown to put MT up 21-14. Georgia Tech responded with a three minute drive as Washington ran up the gap to tie the game at 21-21 with a minute-plus left.
Kilgore completed 14-of-17 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. Cunningham had 11 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Georgia Tech had a pair of fumbles, while the Blue Raiders lost a fumble and threw an interception.
Middle Tennessee responded with two touchdowns in the third quarter. Benny Cunningham broke through for a 23-yard rush to put the Raiders up 28-21.
The Raider defense held off GT on fourth down. Marcus Henry caught a 75-yard pass from Logan Kilgore to put MT up 35-21 as the third quarter closed.
Washington added his fourth touchdown for GT with another run up the gut as it narrowed MT's lead to 35-28 with 11:23 left in the game. Washington finished with 14 completions for 146 yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Kenneth Gilstrap pick pocketed a Yellow Jacket receiver and returned it 45 yards to put the Raiders in prime position. Cunningham added his fourth touchdown with a four yard run, moving into third all-time for a game. The Blue Raiders held a 42-28 lead with 6:30 left in the game.
MT added their final touchdown at 1:17 when Cunningham added his fifth touchdown to give MT the 49-28 edge.
The Raiders return home to Floyd Stadium next Saturday, Oct. 6 for Homecoming against ULM. Kickoff is set for 2:30pm.
Georgia Tech's Jabari Hunt-Days intercepted a Logan Kilgore pass at the GT 47 to help set up a score for the Jackets. GT used an Orwin Smith 33-yard rush to get inside the redzone. QB Tevin Washington rushed up the middle for the touchdown. Middle Tennessee used three big plays to drive down the field. Christian Collis caught a deflected pass for a 13 yard grab as Kilgore scrambled out of the pocket. Jacob Corbaley made his first career catch with a 21-yard snatch inside GT territory. Anthony Amos capped off the drive with a one hand grab to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:30 left. The Blue Raiders forced another turnover when TT Barber stripped the GT running back and Shubert Bastien pounced on his first recovery of the year. The Blue Raiders could not capitalize, after missing a 42-yard field goal. The Blue Raiders put together 105 yards, including 88 from the air as Kilgore went 9-of-11 with a touchdown in the first quarter. GT was held to just 71 yards in the opening frame.
On the first play of the second quarter, Benny Cunningham broke through the midfield for a 60-yard touchdown. The scamper was the longest of the Nashville native's career as MT took a 14-7 lead at the 14:50 mark in the second quarter. Corey Carmichael forced a GT fumble as Khari Burke made his second recovery of the season. However, Middle Tennessee fumbled on the next play that gave the Jackets new life. Tevin Washington capped off a 69-yard drive with a three yard keeper to tied the game at 14-14 with 9:30 left in the quarter. Kyle Griswould caught a 26-yard pass to put the Blue Raiders inside the redzone. Benny Cunningham added his fourth touchdown in the past six quarters with a one yard rush as MT took a 21-14 lead. Georgia Tech used a solid kick return and a Tevin Washington touchdown to tie the game at 21 with a minute-plus remaining. The Raiders completed the half with 280 yards. MT had 152 passing and 133 rushing during the opening frame. Kilgore was 14-of-17 for 152 yards with a touchdown and interception. Cunningham led MT with 11 rushes for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
Georgia Tech went three-and-out in their opening play in the second half. A Georgia Tech facemask gave MT great field position inside the 19. MT had a delay of game call, but on the next play Benny Cunningham broke for 23 yards to give the Raiders a 28-21 lead. Cunningham reached 131 yards for a new career-high, passing his previous of 117 set against Troy. The touchdown was the third for Cunningham in the game, also a new career-high. During a sweep option, the Yellow Jackets fumble as Middle Tennessee picked up its third fumble recovery thanks to Craig Allen at the GT 32 yardline. Middle Tennessee encountered its first punt at 9:33 in the third quarter. Jimmy Staten picked up a big sack against Tevin Washington. At 2:11, Middle Tennessee's defense used a critical fourth down stop to get the ball. On the next play, Kilgore fired a 75-yard pass to Marcus Henry to put MT up by 14. While GT was driving, Shubert Bastien picked up a critical sack on first down to back the Jackets up by five to start the fourth quarter.
The Yellow Jackets continued to run its triple option attack as GT scored with a one yard touchdown from Tevin Washington to make it a 35-28 game with 11:23 left. The chains moved for Middle Tennessee, but the Yellow Jackets stood strong. MT was forced to punt to the GT 17 with 8:20 left in the game. Kenneth Gilstrap took the ball from the defender and returned 43 yards for MT as he landed at the Georgia Tech 15. It was the first INT for Gilstrap in his career. A touchdown by Cunningham was called back after MT did not give Georgia Tech enough time to bring in subs. Just two plays later, Cunningham added his fourth touchdown as MT upped its lead to 14. Leighton Gasque picked up a critical sack to back up the Jackets as they were driving. The Yellow Jackets were backed up to a fourth and 22 situation with the game on the line. Gasque responded once again with his second sack on the drive to give the Raiders the ball.
CAPTAINS: Today's game captains were DE Omar McLendon, DT Jimmy Staten, and RB Drayton Calhoun.
KILGORE MOVING UP: QB Logan Kilgore connected on his 7th and 8th touchdown passes of the season and the 28th and 29th of his career at Georgia Tech. Kilgore's 29 touchdown passes ties Marvin Collier for the eighth most in school history.
CUNNINGHAM GOES DEEP: Senior Benny Cunningham gave MT its first lead of the game when he broke a 60-yard run for a touchdown to begin the second quarter. It went down as the longest run of Cunningham's career, the longest of the season for the Blue Raiders, and the longest by the Blue Raiders since D.D. Kyles raced 74 yards against Louisiana in 2010 - span of 24 games.
SCORING MACHINE: Benny Cunningham has made his presence felt since returning from his injury this season. The senior came back against Memphis and scored two touchdowns and added four more against Georgia Tech. Cunningham now has 16 rushing touchdowns for his career and 18 overall. The five scores against GT matched the second-most in school history behind current Dallas Cowboy tailback Phillip Tanner.
RIDICULOUS: Wide receiver Anthony Amos' one-handed touchdown grab in the first quarter wasa called "ridiculous" by ESPN and was among its top ten plays early in the afternoon.
NO LONGER PERFECT: Middle Tennessee came into today's game not allowing a sack and gave up its first one against GT in an unusual fashion. WR Kyle Griswould was called for intentional grounding and a sack had to be awarded. However, starting QB Logan Kilgore is still sackless on the season.
200 FOR BENNY: Senior tailback Benny Cunningham registered just the second 100-yard rushing game of his career and the first 200-yard game when he churned out 217 yards on 27 carries against Georgia Tech. The rushing total was a career-high and the most by the Nashville native since gaining 117 against Troy in 2011. His 27 carries were also a personal-best. For good measure, Cunningham added five touchdown runs to tie for the second most in school history. Cunningham's 217 yard performance was ranked 10th all-time in MT history.
KILGORE TOPS 200: QB Logan Kilgore recorded the 10th 200-yard passing game of his career when he completed 17 of 23 passes for 246 yards.
BIG FIRST: DB Kenneth Gilstrap picked the perfect time to come up with his first career interception. With under eight minutes to play and MT leading by a touchdown, GT QB Tevin Washington went deep to what appeared to be an open receiver but Gilstrap's recovery speed allowed him to jar the ball loose and pick it off to set up a late MT score.
ANOTHER WIN OVER THE ACC: Middle Tennessee's 49-28 victory over Georgia Tech marks the third times the Raiders have upended an ACC program. The last win came in 2009 when MT defeated Maryland 32-31 in College Park. The other previous win was a 24-14 stunner over the Terps at Floyd Stadium in 2008.
QUICK HITTERS: QB Logan Kilgore started his 17th career game today which ranks as the most on the team, passing Tavarres Jefferson ... OL Roberto Loya and DT Patrick McNeil made their first collegiate starts today against the Yellow Jackets ... Safety David Jones made his first start of the year and second of his career today ... DE Omar McLendon played in his team-leading 40th game today ... TE Jacob Corbaley made his first career reception today to set up a TD in the first quarter ... PK Carlos Lopez missed a 42-yard FG in the first quarter for the first miss of his Blue Raider career ... LB Corey Carmichael and LB T.T. Barber both forced fumbles today ... Khari Burke was credited with his second fumble recovery of the season and Shubert Bastien with the second of his career ... The 21 points by MT in the first half was the most given up by GT in any half this season ... LB Craig Allen recovered his second career fumble early in third quarter ... Marcus Henry's 75-yard touchdown catch was the first of his career and the longest ... This marked the 15th time in the last 42 games the Blue Raiders have rushed for more than 200 yards ... Leighton Gasque recorded his second and third sacks of the season and ninth and 10th of his career and he is now tied for 10th on the all-time list.
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