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August 27, 2008

The bulletin board: MT vs. Troy

Need a little extra motivation for Thursday's season opening showdown with Troy?


For that we bring you the GoMiddle.com Bulletin Board, an exclusive feature compiling all the quotes, notes and facts you need to know to get you even more hyped up for the Blue Raiders' upcoming clash with the Trojans.


vs.
Thursday, August 28th, 6:30 p.m.
Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro (Tenn.)


Key Stats


* Middle Tennessee is opening its season with a Sun Belt Conference game for the third straight year. The Blue Raiders beat Florida International in the 2006 season opener and lost to Florida Atlantic to kick off 2007.

* Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill and Troy coach Larry Blakeney enter this year's season opener as owners of exactly equal .714 career Sun Belt Conference winning percentages. Blakeney is 20-8 in Sun Belt games in four seasons. Stockstill is 10-4 in Sun Belt games through two seasons.

* MT junior running back Desmond Gee tallied 100 or more all-purpose yards seven times last year and topped the 200 yard mark on one occasion. He has 2,135 all-purpose yards through two seasons and is on pace to rank third on the school's all-time list when his career is over.

* Under Stockstill, the Blue Raiders are 9-3 when allowing less than 150 yards rushing. MT's rush defense fell off the desired pace last year when the Blue Raiders yielded 199.8 yards per game on the ground. The defense allowed 200 or more yards rushing in six games and lost five of those contests.

* MT averaged moving the ball 34.33 yards and scored 24 total points on its game opening drives last year. The Blue Raider defense only allowed an average of 26.67 yards and gave up a total of 17 points on opponents' first drives.

* MT is 4-0 under Stockstill in games where the defense scores a touchdown.

* MT is 34-5-1 when opening the season at home since 1913.

The Series

* Middle Tennessee and Troy will meet for the 16th time in history with the Blue Raiders holding an 11-4 all time series lead.

* The two teams played eight times from 1936 to 1953 and then didn't meet again until 1999.

* The Blue Raiders and Trojans met first in Murfreesboro in 1936 when Middle Tennessee claimed a 19-0 victory.

* Troy's first win in the series came in 1999 when the Trojans defeated Middle Tennessee's first Division 1-A team 48-31.

* The last meeting between the two teams came at the end of last season when Troy won 45-7 at Movie Gallery Stadium in Troy.

* Thursday will mark the third meeting between Troy coach Larry Blakeney and Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill.

Connections


* MT wide receiver Patrick Honeycutt and Troy WR Andrew Davis are both from Pelham, Alabama.

* MT junior wide receiver Eldred King and Troy junior running back Maurice Greer and sophomore safety Daniel Sheffield were teammates at Garden City CC in Garden City, Kansas.

* Troy freshman quarterback Dantavious Parker and Blue Raider freshman safety Derrick Crumpton were teammates together at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, Florida.

* MT sophomore defensive end Jamari Lattimore, freshman safety Derrick Crumpton, freshman wide receiver Sancho McDonald, sophomore cornerback Rod Issac along with Troy's freshman quarterback Dantavious Parker and senior defensive back Trevor Ford are all from Miami, Florida.

* Trojan tailbacks T.J. Mitchell and Chris Anderson along with Blue Raider sophomore linebacker Antwan Davis, freshman linebacker Darin Davis and junior wide receiver Chris McClover are from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

* Troy senior defensive lineman Josh Henderson, freshman defensive tackle Tim Lamb, freshman linebacker Xavier Lamb along with MT's junior cornerback Marcus Udell are all from Tallahassee, Florida.

* Troy senior offensive lineman Emeka Okosa and MT running back Jawan Carson are from Newark, New Jersey.

* Troy freshman defensive tackle Chigozie Nwankwo and Blue Raider defensive end Emmanuel Perez are from Miramar, Florida.

* The Middle Tennessee roster contains five players from the state of Alabama:

QB Joe Craddock (Birmingham)
WR Patrick Honeycutt (Pelham)
S Josh Gregory (Huntsville)
LB Cam Robinson (Stevenson)
OL Jamal Lewis (Huntsville)

* The Troy roster includes one player from the state of Tennessee:

QB Levi Brown (Mt. Juliet)

* MT senior quarterback Joe Craddock and Troy defensive end Mario Addison are from Birmingham, Alabama.

Quotes

* Troy head coach Larry Blakeney in an interview with the Dothan Eagle on his team's preparations for MT quarterbacks Joe Craddock and Dwight Dasher:

"You can think Dwight's a better runner, but [Craddock] made a big play with his feet against us last year. It's a good problem to have two experienced quarterbacks who have played in some big arenas. They can really throw the football. They keep talking about Dasher not being able to throw it, but when we look at cutups, he's hitting a bunch of passes."


* Blakeney on any potential changes to Troy's offense after he promoted Neal Brown to replace former offensive coordinator Tony Franklin:

"We feel like we've got to be able to hang our hat on the offensive line and that includes both facets, passing and running. We've got all of [our linemen] back and we think that certainly we'll be a spread team and we'll be using a lot of the same type formations we always have. I don't think anybody will notice any differences, maybe a few nuances here or there, but basically it will be the same we've been doing."

* MT defensive tackle Trevor Jenkins on the defense's ability to replace the departed production of ends Tavares Jones and Erik Walden:

"We lost good character and good athletic ability with Tavares and Erik Walden. But I'm an optimist man, I like to look at the glass half full. I think we've gained some good players as well. We have players stepping up like Chris McCoy and [Jamari] Lattimore. I think it's good because all of us feel like we have something to prove in a sense ... I think we are playing with a chip on our shoulder and I'm excited."

* Troy quarterback Jamie Hampton in an interview with the Birmingham News on the challenges of taking over the starting quarterback job and asserting himself as a leader:

"Being a starting quarterback, there's a lot that goes into it. You have to stay longer and work harder than everybody. You just have to earn their respect. I think that by working hard in the weight room and all the drills we do and by being more vocal I'm trying to be more of a leader. That's helped me out a lot. I'm a laid-back kind of guy. It takes a lot to really make me mad. On the football field, you really have to alter your personality. Sometimes you do have to get on a receiver and tell him, `Hey, you did that wrong. This is what you have to do.' It kind of comes with being a quarterback. The coaches harped on me that I have to be more vocal, so finally I just thought I'm going to try it out and I've become more vocal."


* MT head coach Rick Stockstill on his choice of starting either Joe Craddock or Dwight Dasher at quarterback:

"We've got two starting quarterbacks. We're confident both can run the offense. Both will play against Troy, and both will play against Maryland."

Did You Know?


* Middle Tennessee is 24-38 in televised games in the program's history.

* This will be the fourth straight MT/Troy matchup that has been televised. The 2005 game was on ESPNU, the 2006 game was on CSS, and the 2007 game was on ESPN2.

* This will be just the seventh time in Middle Tennessee football history that the Blue Raiders have played a game in August.

* Middle Tennessee is 28-20 in Sun Belt action all-time. The 28 league wins rank as the second most in conference history behind North Texas, which has 30.

* Middle Tennessee is one of just three non-BCS league members this year that is playing four BCS opponents in non-conference action, joining East Carolina and Hawaii. Western Kentucky and Navy are also playing four BCS league opponents, but the Hilltoppers and Midshipmen compete this year as independents.

* The September 8, 2001 MT/Troy game ranks as the seventh largest crowd to watch a game at Floyd Stadium. 21,723 fans came through the turnstiles that night to watch the Blue Raiders hand the Trojans a 54-17 defeat.

* This year marks the 75th season of Floyd Stadium.



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