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Blue Raiders Notch First Win

October 11, 2003 · MT Media Relations
Off to a Good Start: Middle Tennessee's offense got off to a great start against the Aggies. Shawn Allen returned the opening kick 38 yards to the NMSU 32-yard line. Quarterback Clint Marks then hit Kerry Wright with a 32-yard scoring pass on the first offensive play of the game, giving the Blue Raiders a 7-0 advantage 17 seconds into the contest.

Marks Gets Starting Nod: Redshirt freshman Clint Marks made the first start of his career against New Mexico State today. The native of Fort Myers, FL, completed nine-of-12 passes for 208 yards in the game. He also tossed three TDs.

Wright in Record Books: WR Kerry Wright continued his outstanding season this afternoon with five catches for 187 yards. The game is the third 100-yard game of the season for the East Point, GA, product. Wright's offensive output ranks third all-time. He also hauled in three TD catches to equal a school mark. Wright now owns 34 receptions for 649 yards on the year. He is averaging 19.1 yards per catch.

Wright Honored Again: WR Kerry Wright was named the Alexander Automotive Family Player of the Game for his efforts against New Mexico State. Wright, who also received the award last week, is the first Blue Raider to win the award twice.

Gross Tops Century Mark: RB Eugene Gross, making his first start at tailback, became the first Blue Raider to run for 100 yards this season with his effort against New Mexico State. The Statesboro, GA, native ran for 102 yards on 25 carries against the Aggies. Gross also added to his team-leading rushing total, giving him 391 yards on the year.

Pickin' and Grinnin': SS Michael Woods picked off a Paul Dombrowski pass and rambled 89 yards for a score. Woods' return ranks the third longest in MT history. The touchdown return is the first time that Woods has found paydirt in his career. His return also puts Woods fourth on the all-time list for total return yardage in a single game. The interception was the fourth of his career.

Stats Don't Tell the Story: A quick look at the final stats would give reason to believe that New Mexico State had won the game. The Aggies had 19 more first downs, 232 more offensive yards, and possessed the ball 10:11 longer than the Blue Raiders. However, the Blue Raiders did win one important category: the defense forced four turnovers, including three interceptions for a combined 115 return yards.

Homecoming: The Blue Raiders now own an all-time record of 44-18-2 on homecoming and has won 15 of the past 16. Andy McCollum is now 4-1 on homecoming.

Quick Hitters: DT Dominic Jones made his first start of the season ... Cornerback Danny Tolbert's first quarter interception was the first of his career ... Randy Arnold's interception in the fourth quarter is his first of the year and the second of his career ... P Robert Billings averaged 44.3 yards on seven punts ... All three of Kerry Wright's TD catches today went for 32 or more yards ... MT is now 6-1 in Sun Belt play at Floyd Stadium ... Today's game marks the largest margin of victory in the series with New Mexico State ... The Blue Raider added another sack today, giving the team at least one QB takedown in five of the first six games.

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