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2008 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Season

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 8, 2009


2008 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Dec. 3
UL Lafayette 42 ... Middle Tennessee 28
Helped by two key fumble recoveries, ULL became bowl eligible. Gerren Blount recovered a fourth quarter fumble as the Ragin' Cajuns were hanging on to a seven-point lead, an Michael Desormeaux put the game away on a 37-yard touchdown pass to Louis Lee. Desormeaux threw four touchdown passes with three in the second half, while Tyrell Fenroy ran for two scores from four and two yards out in the first half. Middle Tennessee kept pace for just over three quarters with two short scoring runs from Phillip Tanners and to Joe Craddock touchdown passes. Middle Tennessee outgained ULL 409 yards to 395.
Player of the game: UL Lafayette QB Michael Desormeaux completed 18-of-25 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran 11 times 42 yards.
Stat Leaders: UL Lafayette - Passing: Michael Desormeaux, 18-25, 243 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: Tyrell Fenroy, 24-83, 2 TD. Receiving: Jason Chery, 6-68, 1 TD
Middle Tennessee - Passing: Joe Craddock, 22-28, 242 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Phillip Tanner, 23-78, 2 TD. Receiving: Sancho McDonald, 6-98, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Middle Tennessee turned the ball over, UL Lafayette didn't. It's that simple. The Blue Raider offense was fantastic with Joe Craddock keeping the chains moving time and again on third downs, while Phillip Tanner finished the season hot to show why he'll be one of the Sun Belt's signature stars going into next season. Overall, the team did a nice job or rallying back after a horrible first half of the season, but there was no margin for error to have any hope of a bowl game. Being -3 in turnover margin this week proved too costly.

- 2008 MT Preview
- 2007 MT Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
5-7
2008 Record: 5-
7

Aug. 28 Troy L 31-17
Sept. 6 Maryland W 24-14
Sept. 13 at Kentucky L 20-14
Sept. 20 at Arkansas St L 31-14
Sept. 30 Florida Atlantic W 14-13
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE
Oct. 11 at FIU L 31-21
Oct. 18 at Louisville L 42-23
Oct. 25 at Miss State L 31-22
Nov. 1 OPEN DATE
Nov. 8 UL Monroe W 24-21
Nov. 15 at WKU W 21-10
Nov. 22 North Texas W 52-13
Dec. 3 at UL Lafayette L 42-28

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
6-6
2007 Record: 5-
7

Sept. 1 at Fla Atlantic L 27-14
Sept. 6 at Louisville L 58-42
Sept. 15 at LSU L 44-0
Sept. 20
W. Kentucky L 20-17
Sept. 29 FIU W 47-6
Oct. 6 Virginia L 23-21
Oct. 13 at Memphis W 21-7
Oct. 20
Arkansas State W 24-7
Oct. 27 at North Texas W 48-28
Nov. 3 at UL Monroe W 43-40
Nov. 10 UL Lafayette L 34-24
Nov. 20 at Troy L 45-7

Nov. 15
Middle Tennessee 21 … Western Kentucky 10
Joe Craddock threw two touchdown passes with a nine-yarder to Malcolm Beyah and a 33-yard play to Sancho McDonald, but WKU stayed alive with a 27-yard touchdown catch from Jake Gaebler. The Hilltoppers appeared to be back in it late after recovering a fumble, but they lost a fumble in MT territory and never threatened again. MT outgained WKU 313 yards to 281.
Player of the game: Middle Tennessee QB Joe Craddock completed 19-of-29 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Western Kentucky - Passing: David Wolke, 18-30, 213 yds,  TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Marell Booker, 11-53. Receiving: Jake Gaebler, 11-125, 1 TD
Middle Tennessee - Passing: Joe Craddock, 19-29, 212 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Phillip Tanner, 27-92, 1 TD. Receiving: Sancho McDonald, 4-56, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Middle Tennessee finally got a running game going with Phillip Tanner running well enough to provide a little bit of balance against Western Kentucky for the one-sided offense. All of a sudden, the Blue Raiders are on a bit of a roll winning two straight and with an apparent layup against North Texas up next before going to UL Lafayette. The battle with the Ragin’ Cajuns could be for a .500 record and bowl eligibility, which would be special considering where the team was at before November started. The defense is coming up with the big stops when needed, and the offense is doing just enough to get by.
 

Nov. 8
Middle Tennessee 24 … UL Monroe 21
Joe Craddock connected with Eldrid King from 15 yards out and Patrick Honeycutt from 13 yards away on the way to a 17-0 Middle Tennessee lead, but ULM came back. Kinsmon Lancaster was kept on the bench in the first quarter for a violation of team rules, but came out roaring with two touchdown passes and 126 rushing yards, but ULM wasn’t able to get any closer than three after a 17-yard Zeek Zacharie touchdown catch with under six minutes to play. Phillip Tanner ran for a seven-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to keep the Blue Raiders up for good.
Player of the game: Middle Tennessee QB Joe Craddock completed 13-of-20 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: UL Monroe - Passing: Kinsmon Lancaster, 16-25, 202 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Kinsmon Lancaster, 14-126. Receiving: Darrell McNeal, 10-84
Middle Tennessee - Passing: Joe Craddock, 13-20, 216 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Phillip Tanner, 16-40, 1 TD. Receiving: Patrick Honeycutt, 4-67, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Middle Tennessee keeps on fighting. The defense struggled a bit against ULM and the offense didn’t hold on to the ball long enough, but a win is a win for a team that hasn’t been able to come up with the tight ones and was on a three-game losing streak. The running game continues to be non-existent, that’s just going to be the way Middle Tennessee’s offense works this year, but it at least needs to be utilized against Western Kentucky and North Texas over the next two weeks.

Oct. 25
Mississippi State 31 … Middle Tennessee 22
Middle Tennessee took the lead early in the third quarter on a 23-yard Alan Gendreau field goal to cap a 13-point run highlighted by an Eldred King 14-yard touchdown catch, but then it was all Mississippi State as Tyson Lee and Anthony Dixon each ran for short scores to put the game out of reach. Middle Tennessee made it interesting with a one-yard Phillip Tanner scoring run, but the two point conversion attempt failed and MSU was never threatened again. Dixon finished with three rushing scores with a 62-yarder in the first quarter.
Player of the game: Mississippi State RB Anthony Dixon ran 27 times for 126 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Middle Tennessee - Passing: Joe Craddock, 23-40, 235 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Phillip Tanner, 8-29, 1 TD. Receiving: Eldred King, 11-164, 1 TD
Mississippi State - Passing: Tyson Lee, 17-25, 197 yds
Rushing: Anthony Dixon, 27-126, 3 TD. Receiving: Arnil Stallworth, 4-60
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The offense moved the ball on a good Mississippi State defense, but once again, the running game struggled and the passing attack had to pick up the slack. Joe Craddock tried to bomb away to keep the team in the game, and he got close late, but the defense had too many problems holding up on a big Bulldog run. With a week off, the team needs to try to erase the recent three-game losing streak and finish up strong with winnable games against UL Monroe and Western Kentucky up next.

Oct. 18
Louisville 42 … Middle Tennessee 23
Louisville got down 14-0 on a Jeremy Kellem interception return for a touchdown and a 39-yard play from Phillip Tanner, but then the offense exploded for a 42-3 run with Brock Bolen running for three short touchdowns and Victor Anderson adding the home run from 88 yards out. A blocked punt for a touchdown from Johnny Patrick put the game away early in the fourth quarter.  UL only outgained Middle Tennessee 391 yards to 306.
Player of the game: Louisville RB Victor Anderson and Brock Bolen ran 39 times for 228 yards and four touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Middle Tennessee - Passing: Joe Craddock, 16-28, 152 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Phillip Tanner, 13-46. Receiving: Eldred King, 5-33
Louisville - Passing: Hunter Cantwell, 14-23, 144 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Victor Anderson, 19-161, 1 TD. Receiving: Johnnie Burns, 4-21, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Blue Raiders were alive and kicking against Louisville until the fourth quarter, but the defense couldn’t come up with the stop needed and the offense was too erratic. The 10 penalties for 87 yards didn’t help. The real problem was the lack of a running game with the MT offensive line struggling against the Cardinal defensive front. There will be even more problems next week against the Mississippi State D line.

Oct. 11
FIU 31 … Middle Tennessee 21
FIU came up with a school-record third straight win Paul McCall ran for a nine-yard touchdown and threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton on the way to the easy win. The defense got into the act with three interceptions including a pick six from 27 yards out from Anthony Gaitor to all but put the game away. Middle Tennessee got two three-yard touchdown runs from Phillip Tanner.
Player of the game: FIU DB Anthony Gaitor picked off two passes and took one for a score
Stat Leaders: Middle Tennessee - Passing: Dwight Dasher, 7-15, 47 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Phillip Tanner, 18-97, 2 TD. Receiving: Patrick Honeycutt, 5-20
FIU - Passing: Paul McCall, 13-29, 223 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Paul McCall, 9-53, 1 TD. Receiving: Junior Mertile, 4-41
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Middle Tennessee has to do something, anything to find some passing production. Dwight Dasher is adding a bit to the rushing mix, but he didn’t get the passing game going in comeback mode against FIU and his running wasn’t enough to keep up the pace. Unfortunately, road games at Louisville and Mississippi State over the next two weeks won’t make the situation too much better.

Sept. 30
Middle Tennessee 14 ... Florida Atlantic 13
Joe Craddock hit Malcolm Beyah on a 32-yard Hail Mary as time ran out, and Alan Gendreau nailed the extra point, as Middle Tennessee stunned Florida Atlantic in the final moments. The Owls took a 10-0 lead in the first half on a 53-yard DiIvory Edgecomb touchdown run and the first of two Warley Leroy field goals. The Blue Raiders first got on the board with a 25-yard Patrick Honeycutt touchdown grab, but the offense struggled to get moving until the very end. Four FAU turnovers killed decent drives.
Player of the game: Middle Tennessee QB Joe Craddock completed 24-of-35 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 13 yards.
Stat Leaders: Middle Tennessee
- Passing: Joe Craddock, 24-35, 268, 2 TD
Rushing: Phillip Tanner, 11-38. Receiving: Patrick Honeycutt, 9-113, 1 TD
Florida Atlantic
- Passing: Rusty Smith, 16-27, 208 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: DiIvory Edgecomb, 16-103, 1 TD. Receiving: Rob Housler, 3-44
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Will the last-second Hail Mary win over Florida Atlantic turn the luck of the season around? Middle Tennessee just missed on the Hail Mary in the loss to Kentucky, couldn't get the one big play needed to get by Troy, and now, at 1-2 in Sun Belt play with a week off before facing FIU. That should be a win without too much trouble, but eventually, there has to be some semblance of a running game. 55 yards on the ground is inexcusable for a team with as much speed in the backfield as MT has.

Sept. 20
Arkansas State 31 … Middle Tennessee 14
Arkansas State came up with the first 34 points of the game as Corey Leonard connected with David Johnson for two scores and RB Reggie Arnold for a 17-yard touchdown. Middle Tennessee got on the board with a two-yard Phillip Tanner touchdown, but it came late in the third quarter and ASU answered with a 14-yard Derek Lawson scoring run. Middle Tennessee only gained 44 yards on the ground averaging 1.8 yards per carry.
Player of the game: Arkansas State QB Corey Leonard completed 17-of-31 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns, and ran 10 times for 74 yards
Stat Leaders: Middle Tennessee
- Passing: Joe Craddock, 25-35, 268 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Dwight Dasher 5-15. Receiving: Patrick Honeycutt, 11-94, 1 TD
Arkansas State
- Passing: Corey Leonard, 17-31, 292 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Corey Leonard, 10-74. Receiving: Jarriel Norman, 4-107
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Blue Raiders are playing well without a lot to show for it. After getting rolled over by Arkansas State, the home date against Florida Atlantic becomes a must-win with three straight road games to follow. The Sun Belt title dreams are all but gone now, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be some noise made in the race if the running game starts to go again. It did nothing this week until Dwight Dasher came in late, and he only ran for 15 yards.

Sept. 13
Kentucky 20 … Middle Tennessee 14
Kentucky overcame a 14-10 deficit with 10 points in the fourth quarter on a Derrick Locke six-yard catch and a Lones Seiber 25-yard field goal, but that’s not what anyone will remember. Middle Tennessee almost pulled off the play of the season as Joe Craddock threw the ball as far as he could on the final play of the game, Eldred King caught it and was headed to the end zone but was tackled on the one-yard line by Robbie McAtee. Middle Tennessee started off the scoring with a 62-yard Desmond Gee touchdown catch and Malcolm Beyah gave the Blue Raiders the lead with a 22-yard catch. MT outgained UK 383 yards to 356, helped by the last play.
Player of the game: Kentucky QB Mike Hartline completed 28-of-47 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Middle Tennessee
- Passing: Joe Craddock, 21-37, 352 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Phillip Tanner, 11-26. Receiving: Eldred King, 6-82
Kentucky - Passing: Mike Hartline, 28-37, 254 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Alfonso Smith, 9-36. Receiving: Dicky Lyons, 12-79
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Middle Tennessee only ran for 31 yards against Kentucky, but it got the passing game moving with Joe Craddock coming up with a great game. He spread the ball around well with ten players catching passes and he kept the Wildcats on their heels. Now the team knows it can play with anyone, and despite the loss to Troy, there has to be a confidence brought over to the Sun Belt season.
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Is the spread going to be a problem for Kentucky? Middle Tennessee did a great job of keeping the passing game moving, and while UK stuffed the running game, it struggled against the pass. A bigger concern is the Wildcat ground game that gained just 102 yards against an average Blue Raider defensive front. If UK couldn’t run this week, what’s it going to do against Georgia or Florida? It’ll be more about Mike Hartline than ever, especially with star-in-the-making Randall Cobb getting knocked out with an ankle injury.

Sept. 6
Middle Tennessee 24 … Maryland 14
Middle Tennessee pulled off the shocker as Joe Craddock threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Sancho McDonald to start the scoring and ended the scoring with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Beyah late in the third quarter. Maryland hit two home runs to stay alive, with Da’Rel Scott running for a 63-yard score in the first quarter and Darrius Heyward-Bey scoring on an 80-yard touchdown catch in the third. The Terps got deep inside Maryland territory three times in the fourth quarter but didn’t come away with any points with two interceptions thrown and a fourth down stop from the Blue Raider D.  
Player of the game:
 Middle Tennessee QB Joe Craddock completed 28-of-40 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns and ran nine times for 28 yards
Stat Leaders: Maryland - Passing: Chris Turner, 13-28, 207 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: DaRel Scott, 11-123, 1 TD Receiving: Darrius Heyward-Bey, 3-90, 1 TD
Middle Tennessee - Passing: Joe Craddock, 28-40, 256 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Phillip Tanner, 22-61, 1 TD. Receiving: Malcolm Beyah, 4-94, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... While all the talk about Sun Belt contenders revolves around Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State and Troy, Middle Tennessee, even after the season-opening loss to the Trojans, have to be considered in the hunt after a fantastic performance against Maryland. This might be the biggest non-conference win in the school’s history, and it showed that Joe Craddock is a playmaker who can lead the offense to big things. The Blue Raiders held on to the ball for a whopping 39:49.

Aug. 28
Troy 31 ... Middle Tennessee 17
Troy took a 24-3 lead midway through the fourth quarter thanks to a 33-yard touchdown from DuJuan Harris, to go along with a five-yard scoring grab  and a four-yard Jamie Hampton touchdown dash, but Middle Tennessee came back kicked off by a 46-yard scoring run from Malcolm Beyah and a three-yard Phillip Tanner dash, but the Trojans answered late with a 79-yard, 11-play drive capped off by a 13-yard Harris run. Troy turned it over four times, but came up with five sacks and held the Blue Raiders to 1.7 yards per carry.
Player of the game:
Troy LBs Bear Woods and Boris Lee combined for 35 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss and an interception
Stat Leaders: Middle Tennessee - Passing: Joe Craddock, 20-32, 200 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Phillip Tanner, 16-61, 1 TD. Receiving: Sancho McDonald, 6-65
Troy - Passing: Jamie Hampton, 17-28, 136 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: DuJuan Harris, 19-148, 2 TD. Receiving: Jerrel Jernigan, 6-43
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The coaching staff went with Joe Craddock, the veteran, over Dwight Dasher in the game the team needed to have. Troy provided the opportunities, but the Blue Raiders dug too deep a hole and couldn't come up with a big stop late when desperately needed. There were several shots to come up with big plays, but they just didn't happen, and now MT has to be perfect in Sun Belt play the rest of the way. The defense has to be stronger against the run, and the offense needs to be more physical.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Hakeem Johnson CB 5-10 180 Jacksonville, FL (Andrew Jackson)
Lettered four years in football and four years in track for Andrew Jackson High School ... Named second team 3A all-state in 2007 while also being selected to the Florida North-South All-Star Game ... Also voted team's most outstanding defensive back his senior year ... For his career he tallied 82 tackles, one sack, six interceptions, 22 pass breakups, four caused fumbles, and four fumble recoveries.

Potential Instant Impact Players

Anthony Jones WR 6-1 180 Tallahassee, FL (Seguin)
NE Mississippi JC: Led the team in 2007 with 55 receptions for 625 yards and eight touchdowns on his way to be selected second team all-state ... As a freshman he hauled in 37 receptions for 451 yards and three touchdowns to earn all-state recognition ... His 37 catches ranked second among Mississippi community college receivers.High School: Signed with Oklahoma State out of high school ... In his only season at Seguin High School in Arlington, Tex., he collected 63 receptions for 1,214 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Marcus Udell CB 6-0 190 Tallahassee, FL (Godby)
College of the Canyons (CA): Helped lead College of the Canyons to a 9-3 record in 2007 by collecting 36 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, five pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. Copiah-Lincoln CC: Earned all-state honors and finished second in the state of Mississippi with five interceptions as team went 9-3. High School: Signed with Alabama coming out of high school ... Also named All-Big Bend ... Played in FACA North-South game and the Cali/Florida All-Star Game ... Registered 68 tackles, eight interceptions (tied school record), four caused fumbles and 18 pass breakups as a senior at Godby High School.

Rest of the Class

Malcolm Beyah

ATH

5-11

187

Chamblee, GA (Chamblee HS)

Jawan Carson

RB

5-10

175

Newark, NJ (Marist)

Immanuel Chu

DL

6-2

270

Woodstock, GA (College of Sequoias)

Derrick Crumpton

S

6-0

190

Miami, FL (Christopher Columbus)

Kendall Dangerfield

DL

6-2

270

Pulaski, TN (Giles County)

Lavonte David

LB

6-1

190

Miami, FL (Northwestern)

Darin Davis

LB

6-2

192

Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Dillard)

Alan Gendreau

PK

5-11

175

Maitland, FL (Orangewood Christian)

Rogeric Govan

OL

6-5

260

Little Rock, AR (Episcopal Collegiate)

Denzell Guerra

S

6-1

195

Loganville, GA (Grayson)

Jamari Lattimore

LB

6-3

210

Miami, FL (Dodge City CC)

Travis Lilienthal

OL

6-3

260

Murfreesboro, TN (Riverdale)

Gorby Loreus

LB

6-0

210

Tampa, FL (Thomas Jefferson)

Sancho McDonald

QB

6-2

196

Miami, FL (Booker T. Washington)

Brandon McLeroy

OL

6-3

300

Spring City, TN (Rhea County)

Jeremy Michel

OL

6-5

281

Bradenton, FL (Manatee)

Tony Smith

RB

6-1

180

Bushnell, FL (South Sumter)

Alex Stuart

OL

6-4

290

Oak Ridge, TN (Oak Ridge)

Marcus Thurmond

WR

6-0

180

North Augusta, SC (North Augusta)

Phillip Tinsley

DE

6-3

225

Dexter, GA (Dodge County)

2008 Recap

Recap:
The Blue Raiders were the definition of a streaky team in 2007, opening with four losses, winning five of six, and closing with two crushing losses that ended dreams of a league title and bowl game.  Wildly unpredictable from one week to the next, Middle Tennessee State could go toe-to-toe with Louisville and Virginia, or lose to Western Kentucky and UL-Lafayette.  Injuries hastened the program’s demise, but also forced into action true freshman QB Dwight Dasher, who looks like he’ll be one of the building blocks for the next three seasons.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Dwight Dasher

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Tavares Jones

Biggest Surprise: Dasher.  A possible redshirt before the opener, the diminutive Dasher lit a fire under the offense after starter Joe Craddock went down with an injury.  Dasher finished the season as the Raiders’ leading rusher, while throwing nine touchdown passes to just three picks.  

Biggest Disappointment: The close calls with Louisville and Virginia were frustrating, but when Middle Tennessee State lost to UL-Lafayette on Nov. 10, it was still alive for the Sun Belt crown.  Although the Blue Raiders opened up a 14-0 lead, they couldn’t hold it, allowing Michael Desormeaux, Tyrell Fenroy, and Deon Wallace to run circles around the defense.  

Looking Ahead: Head coach Rick Stockstill has a good problem heading into 2008, two quality quarterbacks with starting experience.  Both Craddock and Dasher looked comfortable running the offense last fall, making for an interesting battle when the Blue Raiders reconvene in the spring.

  

Related Stories
Franklin named Offensive Coordinator
 -by BlueRaiderPower.com  Feb 5, 2009
Blue Raiders Ink 23
 -by BlueRaiderPower.com  Feb 4, 2009
2009 All Sun Belt NSD Teams
 -by WarhawkNation.com  Feb 16, 2009








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