Turnovers too much for MTSU to overcome in bowl game defeat

Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 11:49pm
Staff reports

Dwight Dasher threw three second-half interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, as Middle Tennessee State lost 35-21 to Miami (Ohio) in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Thursday at Mobile, Ala.

Dasher gave the Blue Raiders a 14-7 lead with a 51-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the but was unable to match his previous bowl performance, when he was named MVP of last season’s New Orleans Bowl.

The senior quarterback finished with 93 yards rushing on 17 carries. He also completed 18 of 29 passes for 161 yards with no touchdowns. He was intercepted four times.

MTSU (6-7) led twice in the first half but Miami (10-4) tied it both times in fewer than three minutes.

The Red Hawks went ahead for the first time, 21-14, when Dayonne Nunley intercepted Dasher’s second throw of the second half and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown.

Then it was the Blue Raiders who answered quickly. Running back Phillip Tanner tied it with his second touchdown run of the contest, this one from 54 yards.

Tanner, a senior running back, finished with 87 yards on 11 carries.

With the victory, Miami, which lost 11 games in 2010, became the first team in NCAA history to win at least 10 games one season after it lost at least 10.

Quarterback Austin Boucher threw two touchdown passes in the final 16 minutes as the Red Hawks pulled away. Boucher, a redshirt-freshman, finished with 288 yards and completed 22 of 36 passes. In addition to the two touchdowns, he also threw a pair of interceptions.

Dasher was intercepted on each of the Blue Raiders’ final two drives.