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(Saturday, November 24)
Final Score: Middle Tennessee 24, Troy 21
Murfreesboro, TN (Sports Network) - Kevin Byard returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to propel the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders to a 24-21 win over the Troy Trojans in a Sun Belt Conference battle at Floyd Stadium.
Byard finished with two interceptions to help Middle Tennessee (8-3, 6-1 Sun Belt) pick up its fourth win in a row. Logan Kilgore went 18-of-36 for 176 passing yards. Jordan Parker paced the rushing attack with 141 yards and a score on 19 carries. Parker also led the team with 72 receiving yards. In addition to Byard's two interceptions, the Blue Raiders' defensive unit recovered three fumbles.
Troy (5-7, 3-5) used its duel quarterback system with Corey Robinson leading the way with 183 yards, one touchdown, and one interception on 22-of-36 passing. Deon Anthony completed 9-of-12 attempts for 98 yards with one touchdown and interception. Shawn Southward racked up 116 yards on 16 carries. Kanorris Davis anchored the Trojans' defense with 10 total stops and two forced fumbles. The Trojans' loss ends their 2012 season as they needed a win to become bowl eligible.
The Blue Raiders struck first as Carlos Lopez connected on a 37-yard field goal attempt at the 8:41 mark of the opening period. Middle Tennessee then went up 10-0 after Parker broke away for a 98-yard touchdown run later in the first period.
Troy answered just before the start of the second quarter with an 11-play, 80- yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Eric Thomas.
The only points of the second frame came courtesy of a 26-yard chip shot by Lopez. His second made field goal gave Middle Tennessee a 13-7 advantage at the intermission.
The Trojans came out of the break with some fire. After taking over on their own 22-yard line, the Trojans marched down the field to put Deon Anthony in position to complete a four-yard pass to Jarod Lee for six points. Will Scott's converted extra point attempt gave Troy a 14-13 lead, its first of the contest.
After a 58-yard fumble return by Dearco Nolan, Lopez netted a 21-yard field goal attempt with 2:21 remaining in the third quarter to send Middle Tennessee into the final stanza with a 16-14 advantage.
Troy came back in the fourth quarter as Anthony rushed six yards for a score to put give the visitors a 21-16 lead with just over nine minutes before the final gun. The Trojans regained possession and sought out some insurance points. However, Anthony was picked off by Kevin Byard, who returned the interception 77 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Trojans turned the ball over on downs on their final possession.
Despite the loss, Troy gained 472 yards of total offense while the Blue Raiders produced just 328 yards.
11/24 21:25:06 ET
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