Owls 27, Blue Raiders 14

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Rusty Smith threw for 195 yards and two touchdowns Saturday to lead Florida Atlantic to a 27-14 win over Middle Tennessee.

Smith's second-half scoring passes to Jason Harmon and Cortez Gent gave Florida Atlantic (1-0) its first win over Sun Belt Conference rival Middle Tennessee in their past three meetings.

Smith completed 12 of 26 passes and helped the Owls take a 24-0 lead.

Charles Pierre ran for a touchdown and Warley Leroy kicked two field goals for Florida Atlantic. Desmond Gee and Michael Cannon scored touchdowns for Middle Tennessee.

Middle Tennessee (0-1), the defending conference co-champion, struggled to move the ball against the Owls' defense, netting only 18 yards rushing and committing four turnovers. Joe Craddock completed 20 of 32 for 199 yards and had one touchdown for Middle Tennessee but was intercepted twice.

Florida Atlantic took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The Owls got a break when their punt bounced off a Middle Tennessee player and was recovered by Michael Lockley at the 35-yard line. Nine plays later, Pierre scored on a 1-yard run.

Florida Atlantic's Corey Small intercepted a Craddock pass late in the second quarter to give the Owls a first down at Middle Tennessee's 20-yard line. Leroy kicked a 30-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 10-0 at the half.

Florida Atlantic built a 17-0 margin in the third quarter. Smith threw a pass to Harmon streaking down the sideline and he ran 42 yards for a touchdown.

The Owls took a 24-0 lead on Smith's 14-yard touchdown pass to Gent in the fourth quarter. Gent caught the ball at the 1-yard line and stretched his hands over the goal line.

The Blue Raiders got on the board on a shovel pass from Craddock to Gee that went 27 yards for a touchdown.

They closed the gap to 24-14 in the fourth when Cannon returned a blocked punt 32 yards for a touchdown.



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