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Blue Raiders' first spring scrimmage 'good': Stockstill

Craddock leads three scoring drives

March 29, 2008 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Joe Craddock led three scoring drives and completed 18-of-24 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown in Middle Tennessee's first spring scrimmage; however, competition between the offense and defense was considered a wash - literally and figuratively.

Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill considered the scrimmage to be evenly-matched between the units, especially considering how depleted the squad is from an injury standpoint, coupled with soggy weather conditions that saw the rain increase just as the scrimmage started.

"I don't know if anybody won," Stockstill said. "It was a good first scrimmage. Their enthusiasm, energy and effort were really good and that was the main thing I was looking for - to come out and play hard and physical."

Middle Tennessee's offense enjoyed five scoring drives in its first spring scrimmage with three resulting in touchdowns and two ending with field goals. Craddock led the unit's first three scoring drives. David DeFatta capped a 13-play, 47-yard drive with a 40-yard field goal and Matt King's 33-yard effort was good at the end of an 11-play, 54-yard drive.

From there, Middle Tennessee's offense sustained its scoring drives and got into the end zone. Craddock completed an 11-yard scoring pass to Patrick Honeycutt, quarterback Andrew Banks scored on a 13-yard run, and receiver Shane Blissard had the longest play from scrimmage when he hauled in a 35-yard touchdown pass from Nicholas Coleman.

The Middle Tennessee passing attack was 24-of-42 for 175 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. In addition to Craddock's 117 yards on 18-of-24, Dwight Dasher was 4-of-13 for 13 yards and rushed for five, Banks threw for 10 yards and ran for 25 on three carries, and Coleman completed his only pass, the 35-yarder to Blissard.

The ground game was led by Banks' 25 yards and Desmond Gee added 24 on seven carries. Spike McDaniel totaled 20 yards on one attempt from his fullback position.

Stockstill was disappointed in the drops by receivers and too many sacks; however, the defense was attacking a depleted offensive line.

"I thought (Dasher) and (Craddock) did well running and throwing the ball," Stockstill said. "I thought Gee made some nice cuts in there. Offensively, the thing that was disappointing and frustrating is that we had some many drops and too many sacks. Up front, we are just beat up. Without the drops and sacks it was OK."

Blissard's 62 yards on four receptions led the receiving corps. Quarterback turned tight end Gene Delle Donne had four catches for 35 yards and fellow tight end Alvin Ingle had four receptions for 32 yards.

Defensive notables were Danny Carmichael (one sack, one tackle for loss), Jonathan Presley (two sacks), Antonio Hill (two sacks, two tackles for loss), Jeremy Kellem (one sack) and Chris McCoy (one sack).

"Defensively, we tackled a lot better, especially in space," Stockstill said. "We had a couple of interceptions at the end that we dropped. We have to be able to stop them on the goal line but I thought we improved a little offensively and defensively."

It was a pretty clean scrimmage for the first one of the spring, particularly in nasty weather conditions and with key players out with injuries. There were no turnovers and only five penalties for 25 yards. The defense forced eight three-and-outs in 17 opportunities.

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