Sitting at 5-3, fresh off a bye, things were looking up for Middle Tennessee.
Then came a 27-7 home loss to BYU, and a disaster 38-28 loss in Miami to FIU.
With a season hanging in the balance, Middle did what they know how to best with their backs against the wall last week against FAU: win in the clutch.
A program built on defense, and consistency, games coming up like Saturday won't have the Blue Raiders rattled.
Here is a closer look at what is coming into the Sun Bowl Saturday evening as both UTEP and Middle Tennessee look to finish 2014 with a winning record.
***2014 is the 100th season of football for Middle Tennessee.
***Middle Tennessee has been bowl eligible in six of the last nine seasons, including five bowl appearances in the last six seasons.
***The Blue Raiders are 17-6 in their last 23 conference games dating back to the Sun Belt days.
***MT ranks eighth nationally in blocked kicks this season with four.
***Safety Kevin Byard is tied for first among active FBS players in total career interceptions with 15 career picks, Byard also has 327 career interception return yards.
***Linebacker T.T. Barber has six career interceptions, and 22.5 career TFL's, in eight different games last year Barber piled up nine or more tackles.
***Linebacker Leighton Gasque ranks second all-time in school history with 22 career sacks.
***Over the past 24 games with most of the same core of players, Middle Tennessee has forced 53 turnovers,
***Running back Shane Taylor has scored a touchdown in 10 of his last 14 games played.
***In the last 29 games, MT has recorded 37 interceptions, and has picked off 13 passes this season.
***Under head coach Rick Stockstill, MT has won six straight games that have been decided in the final minute or overtime.
***In 111 games under Stockstill, MT has a +28 turnover margin, and they are 28-4 under him when they win the turnover margin. They have also blocked 32 kicks under Stockstill's tenure.
***MT is 20-12 in November under Stockstill.
***The Blue Raiders average 209.7 rushing yards per game this year, which ranks 28th nationally.
***Running back Reggie Whatley is averaging 7,7 yards per carry during conference play this season.
***MT has had four games this year with 500 yards or more of total offense.
***This season Middle Tennessee's special teams units' have returned two punts for touchdowns, blocked two field goals, a punt, and an extra point try.
***They are also 36/42 in the red-zone this season with 28 touchdowns.
***In 56 scoring drives this season, 16 of those drives have been longer than 70 yards.
***23 of receiver Ed'Marques Batties 45 receptions have gone for first downs.
***MT has gone over 400 yards of total offense in 12 of their last 16 games.
***The Blue Raiders held Old Dominion to only 41 yards rushing on September 26th thanks to six sacks.