(T-G Photo by Gary Johnson)
What a difference a couple of weeks make. After Middle Tennessee's loss to Sun Belt rival Troy in their season and home opening game, I wrote a column about what all the university had done to help create fan support and attendance for home games.
In that column I suggested that the only thing left to do was win, especially games at home.
"It was a great win for our players, our school, and our fans, everybody involved," Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill said. "I thought it was an awesome win. I'm happy for our players that they could feel the excitement of the fans running on the field to celebrate with them. I'm proud of the coaching staff because we were good in all three phases.
"To beat a good Maryland team I thought we were the team that played with the greatest passion and toughness."
It was the Blue Raiders' first home win against a team from a BCS conference, their fourth over a BCS team in 30 tries and their first over an ACC team.
Middle Tennessee was the better team and the stat sheet validates that point.
The Blue Raiders dominated the time of possession (39:49-20:11) despite throwing the football 41 times.
They racked up 402 yards of total offense and were 3-for-3 in red-zone chances while the Blue Raider defense collected three interceptions.
Now Middle Tennessee has another tough challenge, but a great opportunity as well, when they face Kentucky on the road Saturday.
Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.