You just know that this one feels especially good for Scott Shafer.
In November of 2015, Shafer was fired as the head coach at Syracuse. Coming off a Week 1 loss to Vanderbilt, Shafer, now the defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State, and the Blue Raiders trekked north in Week 2 to take on… the Orange, of course.
“Win this game,” Shafer reportedly told his new team over the summer, “and we’ll be best friends for life.”
Anywhere from 7.5 and 8.5-point underdogs heading into the game, MTSU — and dozens of their coordinator’s new best friends — will head back to Murfreesboro with a 30-23 upset of Shafer’s former team stuffed firmly into their back pockets. Quarterback Brent Stockstill played a significant role in the upset, passing for 269 yards and three touchdowns on the day.
Shafer’s defense came to play as well. After running up 586 yards of offense against FCS Central Connecticut in the opener a week ago, ‘Cuse was held to 308 by MTSU.
The game itself was back and forth all afternoon — there were five lead changes — and neither team holding more than a seven-point lead at any point.
After the Orange tied the score at 23-all with 11:07 left in the fourth quarter, Stockstill directed a 10-play drive that was capped by a 10-yard scoring toss to Shane Tucker that proved to be the game-winning score. ‘Cuse had two more chances to tie the game and send it to overtime, but one drive ended with an interception and another came to an end on downs at the MTSU 38 with under 30 seconds left in the game.