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Defense solid in first spring scrimmage

Blue Raiders go 104 plays in breezy Floyd Stadium

March 28, 2009 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee held its first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday inside breezy Floyd Stadium with the defense headlining the afternoon. The team went through 104 total plays to go with eight more on goal line situations to cap off the Blue Raiders' seventh practice.

The defense, led by Danny Carmichael and Chris McCoy, allowed just four scores on the day to go with eight tackles for loss, six sacks, and forced four turnovers. The most impressive stat was their ability to get off the field on third down which they did 19 times.

"The defense did a solid job today," said Head Coach Rick Stockstill. "They tackled well, created turnovers, and played with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. They just played fast today."

McCoy, a senior who is having a good spring, and junior Jarrett Crittenton led the way with two sacks each while Carmichael added two pass breakups and a fumble recovery. Cornerback Marcus Udell and linebacker Cam Robinson accounted for the two interceptions, and safety Denzell Guerra recorded the other fumble recovery.

Offensively, the Blue Raiders were inconsistent most of the day as they continue to learn the system. Quarterbacks Dwight Dasher and Brent Burnette both enjoyed the good and the bad during the 90-minute scrimmage.

"It's really hard to evaluate Dwight and Brent right now because they are learning so much," said Stockstill. "There is so much of this offense that is new to them and it will just take time and reps to get a complete understanding."

Dasher completed 12 of 24 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns, while Burnette connected on 13 of 27 attempts for 133 yards, one score, and two interceptions. Both suffered with a few drops early in the scrimmage.

"Offensively, we just had too many dropped passes and turnovers today," added Stockstill. "The drops really killed our momentum early and the limited number of offensive linemen affected our play as well. We still have a long way to go on offense but today was a good starting point."

While starting tailback Phillip Tanner observed from the sidelines with a hamstring injury, D.D. Kyles and Marquise Branton got most of the carries. Kyles led the way with 57 yards on 19 attempts while Branton had 47 yards on 12 carries. The longest run from scrimmage was an 18-yard burst up the middle by Branton for the lone rushing touchdown on the afternoon.

Desmond Gee, Patrick Honeycutt, and Andrew Banks led all receivers with four catches each while Eldred King added three receptions and Malcolm Beyah two. Gee, King, and Beyah all recorded a touchdown.

Middle Tennessee wrapped up the scrimmage with eight plays on goal line situations. The offense scored twice with Kyles running for two touchdowns. Defensively, Crittenton and Perry recorded sacks while Carmichael and Darin Davis each had a tackle for loss.

The Blue Raiders will be back on the practice field Monday.

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