Final notes, numbers on the memorable 2009 football season
10-3 record, bowl win, 7- game win streak highlight campaignJanuary 10, 2010 · Athletic Communications
BLUE RAIDERS HAVE MEMORABLE SEASON
Middle Tennessee enjoyed a magical ride to a 10-3 season that has included a New Orleans Bowl championship, wins over Memphis, Maryland, and Southern Miss to go along with a seven-game win streak. The 10 wins are the most at Middle Tennessee since 1992 when that team also went 10-3 and the Blue Raiders became the first team in SBC history to win 10 games. MT was also one of just 21 teams nationally to own at least 10 wins in 2009 and one of just eight non-AQ teams. The Blue Raiders, who won five games away from Floyd Stadium for the first time since 1992, are just the eighth team in school history to record double digit wins (1957, 1959, 1965, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1992).
DASHER NAMED MVP AFTER RECORD-SETTING PERFORMANCE
Quarterback Dwight Dasher became the first bowl Most Valuable Player since the Blue Raiders joined the FBS ranks in 1999 with a record-setting performance in the Louisiana Superdome. Dasher accounted for 81 percent of the team's offense with 363 total yards and four touchdowns to lead MT to its first bowl win. Along with 162 passing yards, Dasher rushed for a career-high 201 yards to set a New Orleans Bowl rushing record. The 201 yards also went down as the most rushing yards by a quarterback in NCAA bowl history by breaking Vince Young's mark of 200 yards set against USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl.
DASHER JOINS ELITE GROUP
Quarterback Dwight Dasher became just the fourth player in NCAA history to gain at least 2,500 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season when he put up 2,789 passing yards and 1,154 rushing yards in 2009. Texas' Vince Young was the first to join the club when he had 3,036 yards passing and 1,050 yards rushing in 2005, then Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour was next in line as he tallied 3,652 passing yards and 1,122 rushing yards in 2007. In 2008, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick threw for 2,849 yards and rushed for 1,130 to become the third member of the club.
SUN BELT HONOR ROLL
On December 9, Middle Tennessee's Rick Stockstill was named the Sun Belt Conference co-Coach of the Year while DE Chris McCoy was tabbed the SBC's co-Defensive Player of the Y ear. Overall, 11 Blue Raiders were voted all-conference with six first team selections and five second team picks. The first-team members were McCoy, Mark Thompson, Jeremy Kellem, Alex Suber, Marcus Udell, and Alan Gendreau. Second-team selections were Jamari Lattimore, Cam Robinson, Danny Carmichael, Mark Fisher, and Dwight Dasher.
THE NATIONAL STAGE
Middle Tennessee entered the Rick Stockstill era in 2006 with only two nationally televised football broadcasts in school history but that total jumped to 12 when the Blue Raiders defeated Southern Miss on ESPN in the New Orleans Bowl. The Blue Raiders played a school record three nationally televised games in 2006 and matched that mark with three in 2009. MT had two national broadcasts in 2007 and again in 2008. During their history, the Blue Raiders have played on ESPN three times, ESPN2 five times and ESPNU four times. The 10 national broadcasts for MT the last four years (under Rick Stockstill) is more than any team in the Sun Belt Conference during that span.
BLUE RAIDERS HAVE HIGHEST FINAL RANKING
Middle Tennessee ended the 2009 football season with its highest ranking in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Blue Raiders received 12 votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, the most in school history, to end the year tied for 33rd nationally. The media gave Middle Tennessee four votes in the Associated Press Poll as the Blue Raiders finished 37th overall. Both rankings are the highest for the program in school history.
SEVEN IN A ROW
Middle Tennessee completed the 2009 season with a seven-game winning streak which is its longest since 1985 when that squad went a perfect 11-0 in the regular season (MT did win 8 in a row from end of 2000 to beginning of 2001). The Blue Raiders will enter the 2010 season with the nation's third longest winning streak behind Alabama and Boise State (both at 14).
SEVEN LEAGUE WINS PUTS MT IN ELITE COMPANY
The Blue Raiders registered a 7-1 Sun Belt Conference record in 2009 which went down as the most SBC wins ever for MT. The seven wins were the second most ever in a season by an SBC team and the 2009 Blue Raiders became just the fourth SBC team to win as many as seven games in a single season (North Texas, 2003, 2004, and Troy, 2009). The Blue Raiders were one of just 17 teams nationally to have at least seven league wins in 2009.
BLUE RAIDERS OWN MOST LEAGUE WINS IN SBC HISTORY
Middle Tennessee has an overall mark of 38-25 in Sun Belt action all-time, including a 23-9 mark at home and a 15-16 record on the road. Middle Tennessee is 20-9 in league games under Rick Stockstill and 9-6 on the road. The 38 league wins rank as the most victories in Sun Belt history with Troy second with 34 followed by North Texas with 31, UL and ASU with 30 and ULM with 29.
OFFENSE HAS RECORD YEAR
The addition of offensive coordinator Tony Franklin definitely made an impact on the Blue Raiders as the 2009 offense put up the most points, total yards, and passing yards of any team in MT history. Franklin's first Blue Raider unit amassed a school record 5,482 yards of offense to rank 27th nationally for an average of 421.7 yards a game to go with 416 points. The 2009 offense scored at a 32.0 per game clip to rank 23rd nationally and it's the highest scoring average since the 2001 squad set a school mark with 37.1 points per contest. The unit was also the first team at MT to top the 3,000-yard mark in passing with 3,064 yards through the air. Only eight teams in school history have averaged more than 30 points per game.
RUSHING GAME STEPPED UP IN 2009
Thanks to a resurgence the last seven games of the season, Middle Tennessee's rushing game performed at its best since the 2002 campaign. The Blue Raiders churned up 186.0 yards a game which went down as their best average since finishing the 2002 season with 208.7 yards a game on the ground. Over the last seven games, Middle Tennessee accounted for 1,737 yards on the ground which is more than they had all of 2008 combined (1,283 yards). The seven-game upswing moved the Blue Raiders from 99th nationally in rushing to a final ranking of 27. The Blue Raiders rushed for over 200 yards in four straight games against WKU, FIU, FAU, and UL for the first time since joining the FBS ranks in 1999, and accomplished the feat five times during the course of the year (243 against USM in New Orleans Bowl).
The Blue Raiders recorded eight blocked kicks in 2009 to rank second nationally behind nine from SMU. MT bettered the previous best in the I-A era of five set in 2002 and six of the 2009 blocks came over the last five games. The Blue Raiders blocked five field goals and three punts in 2009 and the five blocked field goals went down as the most in the FBS era. Under Rick Stockstill, the Blue Raiders have blocked 14 kicks (6 punts, 7 FGs, 1 PAT) and have 34 total blocks in the FBS era (14 FGs, 12 punts, 8 PATs).
BLUE RAIDERS SET NEW TFL RECORD, END YEAR 2ND NATIONALLY
Middle Tennessee had 12 tackles for loss in its final regular season game to break the single-season school record with 106. The Blue Raiders broke the previous mark of 105 set in 2006. MT added six more against USM in the New Orleans Bowl to finish the year with 112 to rank second nationally. The Blue Raiders had three players with 10 or more and 23 different players recorded at least one TFL during the season. Under defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, the Blue Raiders own the top three single-season TFL marks in school history and four of the top six.
NEW SACK RECORD FOR MT
After four sacks in the regular season finale, the Blue Raiders set a new single-season record with 38.0 total sacks. Middle Tennessee broke the previous record of 36.0 sacks put up by the 2006 team ended the year with 19 sacks over its last five games. The 38 sacks ranked sixth nationally, and were the third-most all-time in SBC history. Under defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, the Blue Raiders own the top three single-season sack marks in school history and four of the top six.
DEFENSE STRONG IN WIN STREAK
During Middle Tennessee's seven-game winning streak to end the year, the defense allowed just 332.7 yards per game and allowed only 21.0 points per contest. The unit also forced 19 turnovers, collected 26 sacks, 67 tackles for loss, 13 interceptions and six blocked kicks. The defense also has 38 pass breakups and 21 hurries during the seven games.
KYLES HAS CAREER YEAR ON THE GROUND
Sophomore running back D.D. Kyles turned it up a notch the last seven games en route to a career year for the Blue Raiders. Kyles, who had three straight 100-yard rushing games during one stretch, has 672 yards on 97 carries for a 6.9 yard per attempt average and a per game mark of 96.0 yards the last seven outings of the season. Kyles turned in a career-best 177-yard effort against Louisiana-Lafayette and prior to that he put up 140 yards against FIU and 110 at FAU. For the season, Kyles rushed for 857 yards and three touchdowns to go along with a 6.2 yards per carry average (best since 2001 when ReShard Lee averaged 7.3 yards per attempt).
DASHER HAS CAREER YEAR
Quarterback Dwight Dasher enjoyed one of the best years of any signal-caller in school history with his dynamic 2009 performance. Dasher, a threat with his arm and feet, set single-season marks in total offense, passing yards, touchdown passes, total plays, and rushing yards by a quarterback. The Folkston, Ga., native ranked seventh nationally in total offense and accounted for 72 percent of the team's total yards in 2009. Following is a list where Dasher ranked in various single-season categories:
Passing Yards: 1st (2,789)
Passing Attempts: 1st (399)
Passing Completions: 4th (219)
Touchdown Passes: 1st (23)
Total Offense: 1st (3,943)
Most Plays: 1st (623)
Rushing Yards by QB: 1st (1,154)
DASHER BREAKS COLLIER'S QB RUSHING RECORD
Dwight Dasher became the all-time leading rusher among Middle Tennessee quarterbacks when he gained 88 yards in the regular season finale at Louisiana-Monroe to push his total to 1,676 yards. Dasher ended the year with a 201-yard effort against USM to run his career mark to 1,877 yards to break the previous record of 1,652 yards by Marvin Collier (1985 to 1988). Dasher also owns four 100-yard rushing games for his career which equals the school record for quarterbacks established by Collier.
DASHER TOPS 1,000 YARDS
With 201 yards rushing against Southern Miss, QB Dwight Dasher went over 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career and the first time ever by a quarterback at Middle Tennessee. Dasher is also the first 1,000-yard rusher at Middle Tennessee since Dwone Hicks in 2002 and the 15th player overall in school history to reach that plateau.
SUN BELT VS BIG SIX
Since the Sun Belt Conference added football in 2001, the league has picked up 12 wins against teams from the Big Six conferences. The league has had at least one win against the Big Six in every year except 2006 and had two wins in 2008 (MT over Maryland, ASU over Texas A&M) and 2009. MT owns five of those wins to lead the league.
QUICK STRIKE RAIDERS
Middle Tennessee ranked second nationally behind Houston in scoring touchdowns and field goals within two minutes. Houston registered 41 scores (35 TDs, 6 FGs) while Middle Tennessee tallied 36 (26 TDs, 10 FGs) within two minutes. Troy was third with 33 followed by Tulsa with 29. The Blue Raiders tied for fifth nationally in touchdown scoring drives of two minutes or less with 26.
THE FLORIDA SECONDARY
One of the most experienced and strongest areas on the 2009 Blue Raiders was in the secondary where all four starters hail from the state of Florida. Alex Suber (Tampa), Kevin Brown (Tampa), Rod Issac (Miami), and Jeremy Kellem (North Lauderdale) finished 2009 with a combined 113 starts with Suber (35) and Kellem (30) accounting for 65. The group, which started together for the last 18 games in a row, owns 21 total interceptions and 49 pass breakups.
HERE'S TO YOU MR. ROBINSON
Senior Cam Robinson made the most of his first and last opportunity as a Blue Raider. The Bridgeport, Ala., native entered the 2009 season having never started a game and all he did was lead MT in tackles with 113 while adding 13.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. The 113 stops are the most by a Blue Raider since Nathaniel Claybrooks had 118 in 1994. Robinson is just the third triple figure tackler in MT's FBS era.
MCCOY LEADS SBC, SIXTH NATIONALLY
Senior Chris McCoy, who had a career year for the Blue Raiders, moved into second place on the single-season tackles for loss list at Middle Tennessee when he recorded 2.5 TFLs against ULM. McCoy ended the season with 20.0 which led the SBC and ranked sixth nationally. For the year, McCoy had a personal-best 64 tackles, 20.0 TFLs, 7.0 sacks, three hurries, and three pass breakups.
UDELL ONE SHY OF RECORD
Senior Marcus Udell, a backup cornerback, was one of the top pickoff artists in the country in 2009. Udell turned in six interceptions over the past seven games to give him a team and conference leading seven for the season. The Tallahassee, Fla., native tied for sixth nationally in interceptions and his seven picks were the second most in school history for a single-season and ties for the third most in SBC history. Middle Tennessee's single-season record is eight picks by James Griffin in 1982.
THE YEAR OF THE WALK-ON
Middle Tennessee played 10 walk-ons in 2009 and three scored touchdowns for a total of seven on the year. Wide receivers Shane Blissard and Harold Turner led all walk-ons with three touchdowns each, while special teams player Sherman Neal added the other score. Neal picked up a blocked kick by SaCoby Carter against FAU and took it 29 yards for his first career touchdown and first career touch of the pigskin. Blissard finished the year with 19 overall receptions while Turner added 14.
CARMICHAEL OWNS RECORD
Senior linebacker Danny Carmichael was credited with two forced fumbles in the win over FIU to give him six on the season and nine for his career. Carmichael, who was fourth nationally in forced fumbles, is the Blue Raiders' single-season and career leader in that category. He broke the single-season mark of four set by Sean Mosley in 2006 and surpassed Mike Caldwell's career mark of seven established from 1989-92.
KELLEM IS BALL MAGNET
Junior safety Jeremy Kellem has had a knack his entire career of always being around the football. In 2009, Kellem had three interceptions, a fumble recovery, two forced fumbles, and two blocked punts. For his career, Kellem has been responsible for 23 turnovers in 37 games played (eight interceptions, four fumble recoveries, seven forced fumbles, and four blocked punts).
HONEYCUTT 4TH ON ALL-TIME LIST
Senior Patrick Honeycutt, who went over the 100-catch mark in the win over WKU, became just the 10th player in school history to reach triple figures in receptions. Honeycutt ended his career fourth on the all-time career list at MT with 116 catches. Honeycutt led the Blue Raiders with 37 receptions in 2009.
CARMICHAEL TOPS 200, SHY OF TOP 10
Danny Carmichael, who started 34 games at linebacker, had eight tackles at Troy to become the first Blue Raider to top the 200-tackle mark since LB Keith Pauldo had 205 in his career (1997-00). Carmichael ended his career with 264 career stops which was just six shy of ninth on the all-time tackles list. The Woodstock, Ga., native also had 32.5 career TFLs which is fifth on the all-time list, and his 12.5 sacks is 4th all-time.
GENDREAU OWNS FIELD GOAL RECORD
Sophomore PK Alan Gendreau grabbed the single-season record for three-pointers with his 18th in the win over ULM to end the regular season. Gendreau, who earlier in the year set a school mark by hitting 12 straight three-pointers, made 18 of 22 field goals to surpass Matt Crews' record of 17 set in 1990. Overall, Gendreau has hit 26 of his last 31 field goals dating back to the 2008 season and has 166 career points to rank seventh on the all-time points scored by a kicker list. Gendreau needs 11 more points to surpass Joe Lisle for sixth.
GENDREAU IS CLUTCH AND ACCURATE
Sophomore place-kicker Alan Gendreau, a semi-finalist for the 2009 Lou Groza Award, must have ice in his veins because he has proven to be quite a cool customer during key moments for the Blue Raiders. In 2008, he provided the dramatic game-winning point following a "Hail Mary" against FAU with no time remaining then in 2009 he nailed a 19-yard field goal with no time left to give the Blue Raiders an upset of Maryland on the road. The Apopka, Fla., product has connected on 28 of 36 career field goals and has made 82 of 83 extra points, and needs two more made three-pointers to tie Colby Smith for sixth on the all-time list at MT. Gendreau's field goal made percentage of 77.8 is currently the second-best mark in school history behind Brian Kelly's 78.4 percent (40 of 51).
GENDREAU SETS SCORING RECORD
Alan Gendreau broke the single-season scoring record for kickers at Middle Tennessee when he registered eight points in the win against Arkansas State. Gendreau ran his season point total to 90 and surpassed the previous record of 89 points set by Matt Crews in 1990. Gendreau ended the year with 104 points to tie for third on the overall single-season scoring list.
LONG SCORING DRIVES
Middle Tennessee's 12 play, 98-yard scoring drive against North Texas went down as the second longest under Rick Stockstill. Since Stockstill took the reins in 2006, the Blue Raiders have put together six scoring drives of 90 or more yards with two coming in 2007, one in 2008, and now three this year. In 2007, the Blue Raiders had a 99-yard scoring drive at ULM and then a 91 yarder in the same game before putting together a 91-yard drive at Louisville. The 96 yarder against Memphis in 2009 went down as the longest under Stockstill at home and third longest overall.
1. 99 vs ULM (2007)
2. 98 vs UNT (2009)
3. 96 vs Memphis (2009)
4. 91 vs ULM(2007), Louisville (2008), Arkansas State (2009)
GEE CLIMBS UP ALL-PURPOSE YARDS LIST
Senior Desmond Gee, a two-time all-conference performer, has been the ultimate all-purpose player during his career at Middle Tennessee and it shows in his statistics. The Greenville, Fla., product saw time as a running back, wide receiver, punt returner, and kickoff returner on his way to 4,276 career all-purpose yards to rank 3rd all-time at MT.
WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE
Under Rick Stockstill, the Blue Raiders have excelled in the always important turnover margin department. In 50 games of the Stockstill era, MT is +33 in turnover margin. The Blue Raiders ranked 12th nationally in 2007 with a +11 margin while recording a +7 margin in 2006 to rank 31st in the country. The Blue Raiders were +3 in 2008 to rank 43rd nationally. Over the last 30 games combined, the Blue Raiders are +28 in turnover margin. MT finished +12 after in 2009 to rank eighth nationally.
DASHER TOPS 4,000 PASSING YARDS
Junior Dwight Dasher is in elite company at Middle Tennessee being one of just eight players all-time to reach the 4,000-yard passing plateau. Dasher had 162 yards passing in the New Orleans Bowl to run his career total to 4,093 passing yards to rank 7th all-time.
GEE IS ALL-TIME LEADER
Middle Tennessee senior Desmond Gee is the all-time leader for the Blue Raiders in kickoff returns and kickoff return yards. The Greenville, Fla., product ended his career with 108 career returns for a total of 2,241 yards.
100 YARDS IS THE KEY
Being able to run the football is paramount, especially at Middle Tennessee. During its history, Middle Tennessee owns an impressive 133-48-1 (.733) record when a back gains 100 or more yards rushing. Under Rick Stockstill, a Blue Raider has reached the 100-yard mark nine times and the team has a 8-1 mark in those games.
GIVE ME 30
Under Rick Stockstill, the Blue Raiders are virtually a lock for victory if they put up 30 points or more. MT is 19-1 under Stockstill when scoring 30 points, including a perfect 9-0 mark in 2009. The lone loss came at Louisville in 2007 when the Blue Raiders fell, 58-52.
THE "DASHER DRIVE"
Even though he would prefer it be called "the Blue Raider Drive", there's no doubt who was in command of Middle Tennessee's stunning game-winning drive on the road against Maryland. Needing a field goal to win, quarterback Dwight Dasher took the Blue Raiders 73 yards in eight plays with no timeouts to set up Alan Gendreau's game-clinching three-pointer. Dasher was a perfect 4-for-4 through the air for 65 yards, including a beautiful 35-yard strike to Chris McClover along the left sideline to key the come-from-behind win.
ACADEMIC SUCCESS UNDER STOCKSTILL
Since his arrival, Rick Stockstill has put a huge emphasis on academics and it is clearly showing. In what is regarded as one of the most impressive turnarounds in college football, Stockstill has taken the Blue Raiders' APR (Academic Progress Rate) from 892 to 990 in just three years. That ranks as the biggest jump of any school in the country. The Blue Raiders have also brought home the SBC Team Academic Award two years under Stockstill (2006-07, 2007-08). Also, Nick Coleman, David DeFatta, Gene Delle Donne, Alex Suber, and Mark Thompson played the 2009 season with a degree.
Prior to the final regular season game against ULM, the Middle Tennessee players voted on permanent team captains for the year. The winners were Patrick Honeycutt, Desmond Gee, Danny Carmichael, Brandon Perry, and Alex Suber.
The Blue Raiders scored four defensive touchdowns in 2009 which is the most under Rick Stockstill and the most by MT since 1999 when that team recorded four. In researching to 1960, the Blue Raiders have not had five defensive scores. In four years under Stockstill, the Blue Raiders have recorded nine defensive TDs and four came in 2009.
BLUE RAIDERS SET ATTENDANCE RECORD
Middle Tennessee drew 28,105 in its home opener against Memphis to set a new Floyd Stadium record. The Blue Raiders broke the previous record of 27,568 set on Sept. 5, 1998 against Tennessee State. Under Rick Stockstill, six of the top 10 single-game attendance marks have been established with all six coming since 2007.
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