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Middle Tennessee State gives Tech the blues with 49-28 upset

Middle Tennessee State quarterback Logan Kilgore, left, escapes the grasp of Georgia Tech defensive end Anthony Williams in the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Rich Addicks)

Middle Tennessee State quarterback Logan Kilgore, left, escapes the grasp of Georgia Tech defensive end Anthony Williams in the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Rich Addicks)

ATLANTA -- Disappointing might have been an appropriate word to describe how Georgia Tech let a fourth-quarter lead slip away in an overtime loss to Miami a week ago.

However, a different word came to mind after the Yellow Jackets dropped their second straight game at Bobby Dodd Stadium -- this time, a 49-28 upset at the hands of Middle Tennessee State before an announced crowd of 39,270 on Satuday.

"It was embarrassing," head coach Paul Johnson said bluntly after Tech fell to 2-3 on the season. "I don't think there's any other way to describe it."

There's also no other way to describe how the Blue Raiders (3-1) added to Tech's misery following last week's fourth-quarter collapse against Miami, though quarterback Tevin Washington refused to blame Saturday's upset on a hangover from the week before.

"I don't think so," said Washington, who scored all four of Tech's touchdowns on the ground and was 14 of 22 with an interception for 146 yards through the air. "I think we just didn't come our ready to play (Saturday). (MTSU) came out with an edge. Collectively as team, I think we could have done a better job of getting up for this game. I don't think the Miami loss had anything to do with it."

MTSU outagained Tech 510-425, led by 217 yards and five touchdowns on the ground by Benny Cunningham and 246 yards and two scores in the air from Logan Kilgore. It created four turnovers while committing just two to pull off another coup for the Sun Belt Conference against a BCS conference opponent. Louisiana-Monroe defeated Arkansas and Western Kentucky took down Kentucky earlier this season.

"I told (MTSU) coach (Rick) Stockstill after the game (that) they got after it and whipped our butt," Johnson said. "And I want to give them some credit because they played hard. But after saying that, ... we didn't play with a whole lot of energy. We turned the ball over, and we can't do that. And we probably had as bad a game tackling as I've ever seen -- maybe even worse than last week.

"Bottom line, we didn't do anything very good. ... That's it in a nutshell, I guess."

Actually, Tech got off to a good start Saturday.

Jabari Hunt-Days picked off a Kilgore pass four plays into the game to give the Jackets the ball near field, and it took Tech's offense just five plays and 2:02 to cash in.

Washington capped the 53-yard drive by diving in from a yard out to put the Jackets up 7-0 just 3:21 after the opening kickoff.

But it took MTSU just 5:09 to respond with the help of a little good fortune on its next possession.

Under heavy pressure on third and 10 from his own 25, Kilgore threw a blind pass towards the middle of the field that deflected off a Tech defender and wound up in the hands of Christian Collis for a 13-yard game and a first down to keep the drive alive at the Blue Raiders' 38.

Nine plays later, Kilgore capped the 75-yard drive by finding Anthony Amos, who made a leaping catch along the back line of the end zone to pull MTSU even at 7-7 with 6:30 left in the first quarter.

Cunningham then gave the Blue Raiders their first lead of the day at 14-7 by dashing up the middle untouched on third and four for a 60-yard TD just 10 seconds into the second quarter.

Tech managed to keep pace and tied the game at 21-all heading into halftime, but things didn't get any better in the second half.

A three-and-out on Tech's first possession was answered by another quick scoring drive by MTSU -- this time, a five-play, 68-yard dash, with Cunningham scoring his third touchdown of the game on a 23-yard run to put the Blue Raiders back in front at 28-21 with 10:49 left in the third quarter.

And MTSU really put Tech on the defensive late in the period.

After picking up one fourth-down conversion, Tech faced another fourth down situation at the Blue Raiders' 36.

Washington actually hit Orwin Smith with an 11-yard completion.

But the Jackets needed 12 on the play and turned the ball over on downs at the MTSU 25.

On the next snap, Kilgore fired a bullet to Marcus Henry on slant pattern, and the sophomore dissected the Tech defense and broke free for a 75-yard TD that pushed the Blue Raiders' lead to two scores at 35-21 with 1:59 left in the third quarter.

Still, the Jackets had a chance after Washington's fourth TD of the day that cut the deficit to 35-28 with 11:23 to play

And Tech got the ball back after forcing a MTSU punt on the next possession, but gave it right back on its next snap on a Kenneth Gilstrap interception and 38-yard return to the Tech 15.

Four plays later, Cunningham scored from 4 yards out to extend the Blue Raiders' lead to 42-28 with 6:30 left and seal the upset.

"I'm just proud of my team," Stockstill said. "To come on the road and beat a great team here on their turf is a great win for us. It was a tremendous effort on our part.

"I thought we were extremely physical and tough, and that's what we talked about during the week."