MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- William Pratcher rushed for two touchdowns and 71 yards and Middle Tennessee won its first game as a Conference USA member by defeating Western Carolina 45-24 Thursday night.
Jordan Parker ran for a 65-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, sparking the Blue Raiders to 28 unanswered points before Richard Sigmon kicked a 21-yard field goal for Western Carolina in the second half. Parker finished with 156 yards on 22 carries, and Logan Kilgore was 12 for 18 and threw one touchdown.
Trailing 31-3, Western Carolina's Troy Mitchell threw two touchdown passes within 11 seconds for the Catamounts. Karnorris Benson caught a 39-yard touchdown, Western Carolina recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and Mitchell found Terryon Robinson from 35 yards out, making it 31-18 at the half. Mitchell was 7 of 15 for 161 yards. The Catamounts have an 11-game losing streak dating back to last season.
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Hugh Freeze has some major holes to fill on offense with the departures of Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, but there is Chady Kelly and good depth.
After transferring in from Montana State, Dakota Prukop has a checklist he's working from as he prepares to compete for the Oregon job.
The destination for Week 6 of the Big 12 Ultimate Road Trip is unanimous, as all three conference reporters would head to the Red River Rivalry.