Middle Tennessee's first trip to West Point, New York to take on Army didn't go as the Blue Raiders had hoped.
The Black Knights (1-0) controlled the game with its tough triple option, and a few mistakes doomed MT (0-1) in a 42-0 defeat to begin the 2020 campaign.
It was the first time Middle Tennessee has been shut out since the 2012 season finale.
"You've got to give Army credit," head coach Rick Stockstill said. "I knew they were really big and strong up front … and we have to find a way to get better.
"I'm proud of our defense. … We just put our defense in such bad field position because of the turnovers. You just can't do it, especially against a team that's going to eat up clock like they can."
The Blue Raiders found it difficult to get off the field defensively and sustain long drives on offense early, falling behind in the time of possession battle 12:49-2:11 in the first quarter. However, they found themselves in just a 7-0 hole heading to the second frame.
Army capitalized on a Middle Tennessee three-and-out then an interception later in the second quarter to score twice before the half, extending the lead to 21-0, then scored on its first drive of the third quarter to take a four-touchdown advantage.
The Blue Raiders couldn't recover, in part due to four turnovers that led to 21 Army points.
Middle Tennessee possessed the ball for just 24:31 and ran 48 plays, while its defense was on the field for 35:29 and 66 plays against the run-heavy Black Knights, who only threw four passes.
Senior Reed Blankenship led the Blue Raider defense with nine total tackles on the day, including one tackle for loss. Fellow senior Brett Shepherd added eight total tackles.
Middle Tennessee will regroup over the next two weeks, as it has a bye week before its home opener against Troy on Sept. 19.