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MTSU defeated Bowling Green on Saturday, 24-13.
Erik Bacharach/DNJ

MURFREESBORO — MTSU endured some significant bumps and bruises along the way, but it is now on the other side of what coach Rick Stockstill called the most challenging nonconference schedule in C-USA this year — and with a .500 record, no less.

“To come out of this schedule, these first four (games) with two wins, we’re right in the mix of everything,” Stockstill said. “We just got to get healthy. If we can get healthy and get all our guys out there, then we got a chance to do some special things. And if they don’t, I still believe in this team that we can do some special things.”

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MTSUÕs injured quarterback Brent Stockstill talks with players as they come off the field during the game against Bowling Green, on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at MTSU (Photo: HELEN COMER/DNJ)

MTSU is the only team in C-USA to face three Power Five teams this season, but that’s now all in the past. “The preseason is over,” as Stockstill put it. The Blue Raiders begin conference play this week as they attempt to reach their first-ever conference championship game.

Here are the three most important C-USA games MTSU will play this year:

At FAU, Sept. 30

MTSU’s conference-opening game against the Owls is a big one, and not just because it’s the next game on the schedule.

FAU has struggled through the first four games of the Lane Kiffin era, with losses to Army, Wisconsin and Buffalo, and a win over the FCS’s Bethune-Cookman. But Saturday’s game still could represent MTSU’s toughest challenge until November — after FAU, the Blue Raiders next five opponents are FIU, UAB, Marshall, UTEP and Charlotte. A road win against the Owls on Saturday would position MTSU well for that stretch.

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