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November 8, 2008
"It was a great game, great win for us, and I am very proud of the way our guys played today."
Joe Craddock and Dwight Dasher both threw first quarter touchdown passes and the Blue Raider defense contributed a fierce pass rush and an interception.
The game was finally sealed on the last play of the game when ULM's desperation heave fell harmlessly to the ground at midfield.
Holding to a tenuous 17-14 lead late in the third quarter, MT let ULM quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster escape the pocket and race 74 yards from the Warhawk 10 yard line all the way to the Blue Raider 16 yard line. But Lancaster would have scored if not for the hustle of MT cornerback Rod Issac, who didn't give up on the play and finally caught up to Lancaster inside the 20 yard line. Instead of Lancaster scoring a go ahead touchdown, the Warhawks ended up missing a 32-yard field goal, which was followed by an 80-yard touchdown drive by the Blue Raiders to extend the lead back to 10.
S Jeremy Kellem: Kellem continued his stellar season by blocking a punt late in the first quarter. The play allowed MT to start its next drive near midfield and helped lead to the second Blue Raider touchdown of the day.
DT Brandon Perry: Perry made one of the most spectacular plays of the season when he recorded a third quarter interception on ULM's opening possession of the second half. Lancaster's pass bounded straight up in the air off his intended receiver and was touched again by a couple of other players before Perry finally made a diving catch to come up with the interception.
WR Sancho McDonald: The true freshman receiver made some big plays at key spots in the game to help the Blue Raiders score the win. McDonald caught two passes for 46 yards and each catch played a pivotal role in the win. McDonald caught a perfect skinny post pass from Dasher to open the second quarter that ultimately led to a field goal. He caught a third down pass from Craddock late in the fourth quarter to pick up another first down which allowed MT to nearly run out the clock. McDonald also had one carry for 19 yards on a reverse.
LB Lonnie Clemons: Clemons recorded two of MT's five sacks for the game and had 2.5 tackles for loss overall. He made a huge sack on ULM's last ditch attempt to move into field goal range on the Warhawks' final possession. Clemons sacked Lancaster on second down when ULM was out of timeouts, which ran several precious seconds off the clock and essentially finished the game.
K Alan Gendreau: The true freshman kicker nailed a 44-yard field goal in the second quarter to provide what ultimately proved to be the deciding points of the game. Gendreau has now made seven consecutive field goals and his 44-yard make today was easily his most impressive looking kick of the season.
MT head coach Rick Stockstill decided to use a three man defensive front against ULM instead of a four man front with the goal of getting more speed on the field to cause havoc in the backfield. Consider the plan successul. The Blue Raiders racked up five sacks and 13 tackles for loss, a vast improvement over recent weeks when the defensive front struggled to mount any pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Net punting: MT averaged 39.4 yards in net punting, more than 10 yards better than ULM's 29.2 net punting average.
Red zone success: MT capitalized on all three of its red zone opportunities, scoring touchdowns each time. ULM scored on three red zone trips as well, but came up empty two other times when the Warhawks missed field goals.
4th quarter third downs: MT converted three of its four 3rd down plays in the final quarter, including two big ones on the Blue Raiders' final drive.
MT linebacker Ivon Hickmon on the defense's big plays to protect the lead: "It speaks a lot to our defense. We bend but we don't break. We never give up and that is something you saw here today."
MT head coach Rick Stockstill on the performances of quarterbacks Joe Craddock and Dwight Dasher: "I thought both quarterbacks did well. I have so much confidence in both quarterbacks and we can win with both of them. Both quarterbacks led two scoring drives today and that was important.
NOTES AND TIDBITS
DT Trevor Jenkins made his team-best 34th straight start ... Freshman Derrick Crumpton made his first career start today against ULM as the defense began the game with six defensive backs ... Middle Tennessee scored on its opening drive against ULM for just the second time this season (also had a TD against Maryland) ... The 14 first quarter points by MT matched its season high set against Louisville ... In 21 career games played, Jeremy Kellem has now been responsible for 14 turnovers following his blocked punt against ULM ... Dwight Dasher's touchdown pass to Patrick Honeycutt was the second of the season and the 11th for his career ... David DeFatta's 64-yard punt in the third quarter was the longest of the season ... TE Byron McLeod made his first career reception against ULM in the fourth quarter ... Middle Tennessee improved to 47-19-2 on Homecoming, including 2-1 under Stockstill. The Blue Raiders have won 18 of their past 21 Homecoming games.
Nov. 15: Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky, Noon
* Notes and Tidbits courtesy of MT Media Relations.
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