Middle Tennessee senior tailback I’Tavius Mathers has been named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week after helping lead Middle Tennessee to a stirring come-from-behind victory against LA Tech Saturday.
Mathers said the fascinating win was one of the biggest team victories he has enjoyed in athletics.
“I’m just happy to be able to contribute to our team and help us win,” Mathers said. “We all work hard and we have a very good all-around team. I am blessed to be part of the Blue Raider family. I really appreciate this recognition but it is about the team and Saturday’s win was one of the best team wins I have experienced.”
It is the second straight week Mathers has earned the honor, which is no surprise to teammate and quarterback Brent Stockstill.
“As a running back, when you take a year off and then try to get back into game mode, that’s tough,” Stockstill said. “The more times he carries it this year, the more he’ll improve, which is showing right now. (Mathers) has put in the work and it’s paying off. He deserves all the success he’s had.”
Mathers had another stellar game against LA Tech, amassing 237 total yards and four touchdowns to help rally the Blue Raiders from a 27-7 deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Murfreesboro native ran for a career-high 163 yards while tallying three touchdowns on the ground. He also added five catches for 74 yards and one touchdown.
Head Coach Rick Stockstill said Mathers has put in extra work to be a more complete back and improve his pass-catching ability in the last year.
“I think I’Tavius’ catchability has improved since he got here,” Coach Stockstill said. “He has worked really hard at it. He spent a lot of time catching balls. I think he has improved in that area. I’m happy for him to enjoy the success he is having, especially it being his last year as a college football player. I think he deserved a lot of credit on how hard he has worked since he got here to become a complete back.”
Overall, Mathers is second on the Middle Tennessee squad in receptions (18) and yards (260). He has also rushed 68 times for 444 yards on the season and is on pace to surpass 1,000 yards rushing.
In the last two weeks, Mathers has been a productive workhorse. During that span in wins against at Bowling Green and against LA Tech, Mathers has eight touchdowns, 320 yards rushing and 177 yards receiving.
Middle Tennessee will play at North Texas Saturday. Kickoff is 6 p.m.