EAST NASHVILLE, TN — The Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs’ long awaited home opener took place this past Saturday. Stratford High School was decked out and looking good. The game was delayed 45 minutes due to the officials being late. The delay didn’t deter the Bulldawgs (1-0) from being dominate in their 46-6 victory over the Kentuckiana Bucks (0-1).
“We were ready to go and then the refs were late,” said Bulldawgs head coach Blaine Boone. “It is tough getting guys ready then they had the wait. The fans were also getting restless. I’m glad we could turn it on and play well. Pretty good for a first game.”
The defense got going early forcing two straight three and outs. On the first play of Middle Tennessee’s second possession, running back Keon Bohannon found a huge whole on the left side and raced 63 yards untouched for the Bulldawgs first score. On Kentuckiana’s next possession, Bulldawg defensive end Romeo Gilbert tipped a pass and intercepted it giving his offense great field position. Running back Jeffrey Simmons found pay dirt on the second carry of the drive from nine yards out to give his team a 12-0 lead. The running game was solid all night. Fellow back Demarco Thomas also had a touchdown run. Both Simmons and Thomas added two-point conversions.
“We have a huge offensive line and they love to pound the rock,” said Bohannon. “We had holes that we ran through that were amazing. We are deep in the backfield fatigue is not going to be a problem.”
The game also featured the highly anticipated debut of rookie quarterback Cass Barnes. Barnes had a shaky start but did throw a touchdown to Steadman Bell on a 78-yard bomb that was intended for Lawrence Gilbert but was tipped to Bell. Barnes went 5 of 9 for 201 yards, with one touchdown and an interception.
“He ran the offense like we wanted him to and he audibled great,” said Bulldawg offensive coordinator Torrian Hall. He is a great competitor and smart.”
The defense virtually pitched a shut-out. The only score by the Bucks came on the final play of the game on a punt return. DeQuinn Watford and Randall Smith had interceptions. A.J. Wynn and Brandon Cason recovered fumbles. Cason’s was for a touchdown.
Special teams were up and down. The coverage teams gave up a lot of yards but Randall Smith made up for that scoring touchdowns via the punt and kickoff. Chris Perkins had a touchdown called back because of a block in the back.
The Bulldawgs will be back in action on the road this Saturday when they take on the Evansville Rangers. Kickoff will be 6pm and you can catch the game on The Cube.com