Blue Raiders get vote in USA Today/ESPN poll

Walden is new SBC sack leader

November 12, 2006 · MT Media Relations

BLUE RAIDERS GET VOTE: In the new USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 poll released earlier today, Middle Tennessee received one vote to rank in a tie for 36th nationally. It marks the latest in a season Middle Tennessee has ever received recognition in the Top 25 poll.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Following review of game tape, Middle Tennessee was credited with an additional sack in Saturday's win over Arkansas State. The orginal stat call was an ASU run when it should have gone down as an ASU attempt at a pass and a Blue Raider sack by Trevor Jenkins. The Blue Raiders ended up with five sacks for the game to run their season total to 28 which equals the school record set by the 2004 team. It also moves the team's tackles for loss total to 82 which is just one shy of equaling the school record.

LEADING IN KEY CATEGORIES: Following Saturday's play, Middle Tennessee leads in all the key statistical categories in the Sun Belt Conference. The Blue Raiders lead the league in scoring offense, scoring defense, turnover margin, fewest penalties, and sacks. But more importantly, the Blue Raiders also lead in wins.

SHOULD BE NO. 1: Damon Nickson entered the Arkansas State game ranked No. 2 nationally in kickoff returns, but did not register an attempt because the Indians kicked away from the big play junior. Since he did not have any returns, Nickson fell completely out of the rankings because he is only averaging 1.1 attempts per game and the NCAA minimum is 1.2 per contest. Nickson's 35.4-yard average would easily be tops in the nation over current No. 1 Grant Jones from Oklahoma State (32.1).

SCORING LEADERS: Seniors Eugene Gross and Colby Smith are leading the Sun Belt Conference in scoring and scoring by a kicker. Gross has 10 total touchdowns for 60 points to lead the league in overall scoring, while Smith leads all kickers with 51 points.

WALDEN HAS SACK LEAD: Junior Erik Walden took over the Sun Belt Conference lead in sacks after recording two in the win at Arkansas State. Walden, who ranks 30th nationally, has seven sacks on the season which equals the Middle Tennessee single-season record.

OTHER TIDBITS: Middle Tennessee has scored 21 of its 34 touchdowns this season in the second half ... Bradley Robinson's 88-yard interception return went down as the eighth longest in the NCAA this season ... QB Clint Marks ranks third nationally on the active completions percentage list at 66.45 percent ... RB Eugene Gross is tied for third nationally on the active touchdowns scored list with 41 TDs and is just one back of second place ... Gross is second in rushing touchdowns with 40 and stands 15th in rushing yards ... Bradley Robinson is listed 16th on the active interceptions list with nine.

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