Football completes first spring scrimmage

Blue Raiders run through about 100 plays at Floyd Stadium

March 27, 2010 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee went through about 100 plays in its first spring football scrimmage Saturday at Floyd Stadium with the younger players getting the majority of the snaps.

Logan Kilgore, a newcomer at quarterback, led all signal-callers by completing 13-of-19 passes for 174 yards and five touchdown strikes. He connected on scores to three different receivers with Tavares Jefferson and Tyler Mason each hauling in two touchdowns apiece. Sancho McDonald also snagged a Kilgore strike for six points.

Returning starter Dwight Dasher finished 10-of-16 for 116 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He led the offense down the field twice, hitting Harold Turner for his lone pass into pay dirt. Safety Jeremy Kellem picked Dasher's first series-ending toss at the 2-yard line and went 98 yards untouched for the only defensive score of the afternoon.

Twelve different receivers caught passes, which also included a 16-of-25 outing from Jamal Ramsey for 93 yards. Turner led the group with six catches for 62 yards, while Mason and Jefferson each registered five receptions for 55 and 53 yards, respectively. McDonald finished with 59 yards on four catches and Zachary Franklin added 49 yards also on four receptions.

The ground game featured eight different players getting at least one touch. D.D. Kyles paced the pack with six carries for 25 yards, while Ramsey also had 25 yards on five rushes. Benjamin Cunningham was the only other ball carrier with double-figure yardage, racking up 13 yards on four carries.

Defensively, in addition to Kellem's turnover, Arness Ikner and Denzell Guerra also came away with interceptions. Ikner's pick came on a tipped pass from Craig Allen.

A core of defensive linemen, led by senior Emmanuel Perez, also had notable plays. Perez was credited with a sack and another tackle for loss, while Derrek Upshaw posted one-and-a-half sacks, sharing the stop with Jimmy Staten. Justin Jones, Dearco Nolan and Omar McLendon penetrated the backfield for a sack each.

Kellem, Jones and Marquise Dixon also broke up passes intended for receivers.

The Blue Raiders will return to the practice field Monday with seven more dates lined up for the spring.

Post-scrimmage Quotes:
Head coach Rick Stockstill

Offensively, at times we played pretty well. I thought Dwight did well moving the No. 1 and No. 2 offense. We had some inconsistencies from some of the young guys up front, which is to be expected. We are still having too many drops from the receiver positions, but we did have guys that performed well. I thought it was a good start offensively.

Defensively, I thought we tackled pretty well. I thought we created some turnovers and got pressure on the quarterback. We still gave up a couple of big plays, and we have got to get that corrected. Overall, I thought it was a solid start.

I thought Dwight did really good the first two series that he was in there. I know what he can do, and I wanted to get him a few reps, same with Phillip Tanner. I wanted him to get a couple of carries to give him confidence that his knee is okay. Both did real well.

Then Logan Kilgore came in and ran the 1s, and got him some reps, and Jamal Ramsey came in and ran the 2s. I thought Logan did a good job, protected the ball well, but he forced one in there that should have been intercepted. He made some nice throws, was accurate with the ball, and then Jamal came in and did some good things, but there are some things that he has to improve. That was his first scrimmage as a freshman, and I thought it was a solid first day.

Our receivers had some drops early, then we started catching the ball more consistently. They had been a disappointment up until today, drops by everybody, not just one. Garrett Andrews had probably has been the most consistent so far. But we started making some really nice catches as it went on and were more consistent.

On play of newcomers and redshirt freshmen
There is nobody that we saw today that cannot do it. They have a great attitude, they work, they have great talent. They do no know what they are doing yet, they do not know how to do it right all the time. They do it right sometimes, but that is to be expected. But they have a great attitude, and as long they continue to work these last seven practices, and throughout the summer and August, some of them will be able to help us.

Tavares Jefferson
I just wanted to see how it felt getting tackled for the first time since the Mississippi State game (when he was injured, ending his season). I think I did a pretty good job, running around and stuff.

On hooking up with Logan Kilgore on several catches
He is a great quarterback, he can throw the ball real well, and when I ran my routes, he put it there every time.

I think everybody is questioning us because we have a lot of receivers gone from last year, but we have a lot of great receivers here. All of the spots that we have from last year, we are going to be able to fill them. They are fast and really good athletes, probably better athletes than we had last year.

Jeremy Kellem
On picking off Dwight Dasher's pass on two yard line and returning it for unofficial TD
He beat me on a play in practice yesterday, and he was talking trash today, so it felt good to get him back. He is probably going to say that I cheated on that one, but that is okay. It is just a friendly competition. He makes me better, and I hope I can make him better as well.

On his impressions of the newcomers to the defense
I was impressed with everybody, but specifically, I was impressed with Marquise Dixon and Arness Ikner. They are really battling at cornerback. I was also impressed with Diesel (Derrek Upshaw). All of them are redshirt freshmen, and they are competing for a position for the first time.

On progress improving as a defense
Coach Stock made the comment after practice that we are farther along now than we were at this time last year. He is an honest guy, so that is a good sign. We seem to be more mature as a defense than we were at this time last spring.

On playing against our wide receivers
I do not know what the coaches are looking for, but from my side, I think they are doing very well. They are competing and they are being physical. Yesterday in practice, Tavares Jefferson put a move on me in practice, and I did not like that too well, but it is good to have him back out there.

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