Blue Raiders streak past Arkansas St., 45-17

October 9, 2004 · MT Media Relations

FIRST STARTS: True freshman Damon Nickson and safety Jeremiah Weaver made their first collegiate starts today against Arkansas State. Nickson got the nod at right cornerback, while Weaver earned the start at left safety. Also, linemen Jerry Vanderpool and Jonathan Callahan made their first starts of the season.

WRIGHT HAS HUGE DAY: Senior Kerry Wright had a day to remember against Arkansas State when he hauled in nine receptions for a season-high 178 yards. Wright, who now has 41 catches on the year, also had three touchdown receptions to tie the school record set by seven different players. Wright also had three TD grabs against New Mexico State in 2003.

CLINT ON THE MARK ... AGAIN: Quarterback Clint Marks threw for a career-best 447 yards on 30 of 34 attempts and four touchdowns to lead the Blue Raiders to victory over Arkansas State. Marks' completion percentage of 88.2 ranks as the second-best effort in school history behind Kelly Holcomb's 91.3 mark set against Jacksonville in 1994 (21-for-23). Marks' four touchdown passes also tied for the third most in a game and the lefthander has now thrown for over 200 yards in five straight games. He is the first signal-caller at Middle Tennessee to accomplish that feat since Jonathan Quinn had five in a row in 1997.

DEFENSE HAS SOLID DAY: The Blue Raider defense got off to an inauspicious start, giving up a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, before settling down to post a solid effort. The defense caused five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles) and recorded two sacks, the first since the Florida Atlantic game three weeks ago. The Blue Raiders allowed 17 points in the contest, the fewest this season.

HENRY HAS CAREER DAY: Wide receiver Chris Henry, who is quietly putting together an outstanding season, had another big day in the win over Arkansas State. Henry registered his first 100-yard receiving game when he grabbed seven passes for 100 yards.

OFFENSE UNLOADS: The Middle Tennessee offense exploded for a season-high 45 points and 551 total yards of offense. The Blue Raiders put together scoring drives of 93, 80, 72, 71, 67 and 51. Ironically, the quarter Middle Tennessee has struggled with all year was the third and today the Blue Raiders put up 21 in the third stanza to break the game open.

JOHNSON GETS SACK: Senior Thomas Johnson, who was limited in practice this week with a sprained ankle, recorded his team-leading third sack in the second quarter. The sack also went down as the first for the Blue Raiders since recording three against FAU back on Sept. 18. For his career, Johnson has nine career sacks to rank fourth all-time at MT.

TIDBITS: In the third quarter, senior Jerry Vanderpool recorded his second career sack and his first since the 2002 season ...TE Jason Krupinski saw his first collegiate action when he came in during the first quarter on MT's goalline situation ... For the second straight week, Middle Tennessee scored a touchdown on its opening drive of the game ... DL Raymond Chaney played in his first game of the year today against Arkansas State, as did wide receiver Luke Paschall ... TE Stephen Chicola reeled in his first collegiate reception in the first quarter against ASU for 27 yards ... Freshman Bradley Robinson recorded his first career interception in the third quarter against ASU and added another later in the contest ... DeMarco McNair saw his first action of the season at running back, scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run.

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