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  1. It helps that MTSU has a pretty good track record in those games, too. The Blue Raiders are 9-5 all-time in their annual Blackout game, including a 34-28, rain-soaked win over Marshall in 2021. "Every day, you get accustomed to the silver helmets, the blue jerseys, the silver pants, the white pants," said wide receivers coach Shane Tucker, who won four Blackout games during his playing days as a Blue Raider. "But black, it just kind of moves you a little different." All three position coaches that played in Blackout games as players on MTSU's staff (Gilstrap, Tucker and quarterbacks coach Brent Stockstill) all pointed to how, for whatever reason, the black uniforms the team has worn over the years have often brought out the best in the players. Whether that was from just the novelty of wearing new kicks, the fact the Blackout game is always a prime-time contest, or the fact that it's usually scheduled against a pretty tough opponent. The quality of the games itself, whether it be Beyah's Hail Mary catch, Ed Batties 2015 walk-off, triple overtime touchdown against WKU (a favorite of Tucker's) or last year's six-takeaway game in the Monsoon in Murfreesboro against the Thundering Herd, certainly helps keep the game in the front of the program's eyes. "2016, we were down 27-7 on a really good LA Tech team with some NFL teams," Brent Stockstill recalled, remembering the 34-31 comeback win he helped engineer over the Bulldogs. "In 2018 (a 25-24 win over Lane Kiffin's FAU), we had a two-point conversion to win it at the buzzer. It's just a cool atmosphere to create with everybody involved." Gilstrap, who made his collegiate debut in 2009's Blackout game against Memphis, forcing and recovering a fumble on a second quarter kickoff that led to MTSU's second touchdown in the Blue Raiders 31-14 win, noted that the Blackout games also serve as one of the longest running institutional memories from players in his era to the ones currently on the roster. "I was here when Coach Stock surprised us with black socks," Gilstrap said. "I remember when we played North Texas at home Coach Stock pulled out a black helmet. The game's changed! It comes from the foundation that Coach Stock laid and the guys that I played with, the foundation that they laid here." This week, that foundation is laid just a little bit thicker, as the defending C-USA Champion, UTSA, heads into Murfreesboro for a Friday night kickoff as MTSU returns home after, perhaps, the biggest win in program history over then-No. 25 Miami. The coaches, Gilstrap notes, don't need to hype up their guys any further about the importance of this game. They fully understand not only the in-season meaning of the game, but the meaning it has for the campus and the program. Read more: https://goblueraiders.com/news/2022/9/28/football-it-comes-from-the-foundation-former-mtsu-players-turned-coaches-take-pride-in-annual-blackout
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