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September 12, 2009GoMiddle.com.com brings you a look at the 10 plays that most impacted Saturday's 31-14 Blue Raider win over Memphis in front of a record Floyd Stadium crowd of 28,105.
1.] When it happened: 13:18, 1st qtr.
What happened: MT quarterback Dwight Dasher took off for a 21 yard run on 3rd-and-long from the Blue Raider four yard line.
Why it mattered: The play followed consecutive incomplete passes that started the drive and prevented MT from having to punt deep its own territory.
2.] When it happened: 10:51, 1st qtr.
What happened: MT wide receiver Malcolm Beyah completed a 41 yard pass to Garrett Andrews on a trick play. Dasher threw a lateral pass to Beyah, who then uncorked the deep pass to Andrews down inside the Memphis five yard line.
Why it mattered: The play came right after a costly illegal substitution penalty against Memphis extended the opening Blue Raider drive and it set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Phillip Tanner on the next play.
3.] When it happened: 11:51, 2nd qtr.
What happened: MT freshman Kenneth Gilstrap rushed down the field in punt coverage to force Memphis returner D.A. Griffin to fumble. Gilstrap recovered the fumble as well.
Why it mattered: The MT punt came from inside the Blue Raider 20 yard line, so Memphis was primed to get excellent field position. Instead, MT got the ball back across midfield and scored four snaps later.
4.] When it happened: 10:02, 2nd qtr.
What happened: On 3rd-and-7, Dasher found wide open Shane Blissard over the middle for a 40 yard touchdown.
Why it mattered: The touchdown put the punctuation mark on the costly Memphis fumble and gave the Blue Raiders the lead they would not surrender the rest of the game.
5.] When it happened: 8:34, 2nd qtr.
What happened: Memphis running back Curtis Steele caught a short third down pass but was stopped for a three yard loss by MT safety Juno Prudhomm.
Why it mattered: The play would be the last time Steele would touch the ball during the game, as he came up hobbling on his ankle after the play. Steele had been problematic for the Blue Raiders early, as he ran five times for 29 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game.
6.] When it happened: 7:39, 2nd qtr.
What happened: Dasher began a drive with a 42 yard run inside the Memphis 20 yard line, a play that ultimately set up a short field goal by Alan Gendreau.
Why it mattered: Dasher's scramble and the ensuing field goal extended MT's lead to two possessions at 17-7, the margin that held for the remainder of the first half.
7.] When it happened: 1:47, 2nd qtr.
What happened: With a first down at the MT 30, Blue Raider linebacker Danny Carmichael burst through to sack Memphis quarterback Arkelon Hall for an eight yard loss.
Why it mattered: Memphis was threatening to score before halftime after recovering a fumble by Phillip Tanner. The sack forced the Tigers into long yardage downs and Memphis ended up getting no points after it appeared MT's lead was likely to be cut to at least 17-10.
8.] When it happened: 2:44, 3rd qtr.
What happened: On 3rd-and-11 from the Memphis 24, Dasher connected with Patrick Honeycutt for a touchdown. Honeycutt found a soft spot in the middle of the field and Dasher hit him in perfect time to allow Honeycutt time to turn up the field for the score.
Why it mattered: Had the Raiders not converted the third down, a long field goal attempt from Gendreau would have been in order, but the touchdown broke the game wide open and effectively removed any doubt about the final outcome.
9.] When it happened: 0:34, 3rd qtr.
What happened: Dasher completed an 11 yard pass to Chris McClover, moving MT inside the Memphis 25 yard line and in position for the game sealing touchdown.
Why it mattered: The play was a relatively routine pass, but it marked the end of a five play stretch where Dasher either completed a pass or ran for positive yardage. The combination of passes and runs netted 38 yards on five plays.
10.] When it happened: 14:15, 4th qtr.
What happened: MT running back D.D. Kyles scored the Blue Raiders' final touchdown on a seven yard run to make the lead 31-7.
Why it mattered: With Tanner out with a knee injury, Kyles showed he can make things happen with the ball in his hands. He may get more opportunities to do so if Tanner is out for any length of time.
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