Middle put on an impressive first half performance by taking advantage of great field position and Golden Panther mistakes to take a 47-0 advantage into halftime. The 47 first half points are the most points the Blue Raiders have scored in a half since joining the football bowl subdivision, formally known as Division 1-A.
The final score indicates that a statement may have been made to the rest of the Sun Belt that Middle Tennessee isn't out of it just yet despite starting the season 0-4.
"I definitely feel that we made a statement and also proved to ourselves that we're capable of putting on a good performance," said quarterback Dwight Dasher. "Hopefully we can go out there and win the rest of our games and perform like I know we can."
Dasher accounted for five touchdowns tonight, three passing and two rushing. He finished the night 10 of 17 passing for 240 yards and rushed for 67 more yards. He feels his on field performance has built confidence in his team and has helped him mature into a leadership role despite only being a freshman.
"I think my teammates have a lot of confidence in me," Dasher said. "The seniors are still the leaders but I feel that I'm contributing and doing my part to step up and accept the responsibilities of being a quarterback on a major college team."
Wide Receiver Bobby Williams felt that this game was critical in order to get the Blue Raiders back on the right track.
"We came into this game wanting to show the rest of the league that we aren't dead yet," Williams said. "We made several unforced mistakes in our first few games but tonight we hardly made any. If we can continue to play the way we did tonight I think we'll be alright for the rest of the season."
Middle's offense put up 405 total yards on Florida International and most of that damage took place in the first half. The majority of the starters were pulled in the second half thanks to the huge halftime lead the Blue Raiders held.
The Blue Raider defense was able to hold the Golden Panthers to only 145 total yards for the game. Middle forced three fumbles and recovered two of them.
"I was real happy with our defense tonight," Blue Raider head coach Rick Stockstill said. "We were able to tackle tonight which was something that we didn't do very well in the first four games. We came out with a different intensity and focus tonight and I believe it showed."