MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Trailing Memphis by one point late, Middle Tennessee didn't get as close as coach Rick Stockstill would have liked to attempt a game-winning field goal. As it turned out, it was close enough.

Redshirt freshman kicker Cody Clark hit a 40-yard field goal with 1:49 left to lift Middle Tennessee (2-1) over Memphis (0-2) 17-15 on Saturday night. Clark had missed a 33-yarder in the second quarter.

"I can't sit here and tell you I knew he was going to make it," Stockstill said. "We've struggled kicking the ball, even in practice. Right now our range, we gotta be inside the 20-yard line. Then this ball's on the 23-yard line . for him to step up there and make it, I'm really happy for him and proud of him. "

Clark's kick capped an eight-play, 42-yard drive keyed by a 25-yard pass from Logan Kilgore to Tavarres Jefferson. Kilgore hit 22 of 36 passes for 224 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Jefferson caught a game-high seven passes for 78 yards.

After Clark's kick, it was up to the Blue Raiders defense to hold the lead, and they had no intention of sitting back and waiting for the clock to run out.

Middle Tennessee registered three sacks on the game's final drive, including two on corner blitzes on the last two plays after Memphis had driven to the Blue Raiders 36. First, pressure forced Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch right into defensive end Alexandro Antoine, who dropped him for a 9-yard loss, forcing the Tigers to call their final timeout with 16 seconds left.

Co-defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix called for the same blitz on the next play, and this time it was cornerback Jared Singletary who got to Lynch for a 10-yard loss. The clock ran out before Memphis could run another play.

"Coach Nix called the same play back-to-back, which I wasn't expecting, but he's a schemer," Singletary said. "So all that was on my mind was do your job and make a play. Actually I didn't even realize it was the last play, but then everyone was jumping."

"We were just being aggressive," Stockstill said. "We felt with them not having a timeout left, we didn't have to defend the middle of the field, so we were able to come with more pressure."

Lynch had rallied Memphis from a 14-3 second-quarter deficit to a 15-14 lead as he completed his first 10 passes of the second half, including a 1-yard scoring toss to tight end Alan Cross early in the fourth quarter that gave Memphis its first lead.

Middle Tennessee led 14-6 at the half despite holding just a 167-162 edge in total offense. Memphis hurt its cause with penalties as the Tigers were flagged 11 times for 114 yards in the first half alone. For the game, Memphis committed 15 penalties for 145 yards.

The Blue Raiders opened the scoring with three minutes left in the first quarter on a 7-yard pass from Kilgore to Kyle Griswould. After a 21-yard field goal by Memphis' Jake Elliot, Middle Tennessee took advantage of Memphis blunders to extend its lead.

After a T.T. Barber interception of Lynch, a personal foul on the return set the Blue Raiders up at the Tigers 8-yard line. Jordan Parker capped the short drive with 1-yard scoring plunge to stretch Middle Tennessee's lead to 14-3. A 41-yard field goal by Elliot on the final play of the first half pulled the Tigers within 14-6. He added another from 27 yards out to pull them within 14-9 late in the third quarter.