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SBC announces Top Ten Moments, Plays, and Anniversary Team

Littlejohn, Westbrook honored

December 20, 2010 · Athletic Communications

As part of the Sun Belt Conference’s Ten Year Anniversary of football, fans, coaches and members of the media combined to select the league’s Top Ten Moments, Top Ten Plays, and the Ten Year Anniversary Team.  The voting took place during the 2010 season and the conference office made the announcement of the winners on Monday.

The Blue Raiders were well represented with three moments listed in the Top Ten, three plays, and two players recognized on the All-Anniversary Team. Following are all the winners.

TOP TEN MOMENTS (not in any particular order)

Middle Tennessee’s win over Vanderbilt in 2001

In Middle Tennessee’s first-ever game as a Sun Belt member it traveled a short distance to take on the SEC’s Vanderbilt Commodores. The Blue Raiders picked up the conferences first-ever win as the combination of Wes Counts and Dwone Hicks was too much for the Commodores. Counts completed 27 of 36 passes for 308 yards while Hicks added 203 yards and four touchdowns on the ground to give MT a 37-28 victory. It went down as the Blue Raiders’ first-ever win against the SEC.

Dwight Dasher 2009 New Orleans Bowl MVP Award

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 on national television. Dasher accounted for 81 percent of the team’s offense with 363 total yards and four touchdowns to lead MT to a 42-32 win over Southern Miss. Along with 162 yards passing, Dasher rushed for a career-high 201 yards to set a new New Orleans Bowl rushing record. His 201-yard effort 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.

Middle Tennessee’s Final Drive at Maryland in 2009

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 in 2009. 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. It marked the second straight upset of the Terps and the first time the Blue Raiders have ever defeated an ACC team on the road.

2008 Motor City Bowl Makes FAU Owls Back-to Back Bowl Champs

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns beat Big XII Kansas State on 48-yard field goal with 0:32 left in 2009

Louisiana-Monroe’s 21-14 Victory at Alabama in 2007

North Texas Wins 2002 New Orleans Bowl

North Texas Has National Rushing Champs in 2003 and 2004

Troy’s “Miracle in Murfreesboro” in 2006

Troy Upsets 19th ranked Missouri

TOP TEN PLAYS (not in any particular order)

Jeremiah Weaver blocked field goal at Vanderbilt in 2005

Middle Tennessee traveled to Vanderbilt to take on the 4-0 Jay Cutler led Commodores. The Blue Raiders led 17-15 and VU took over from its own 1-yard line with 2:47 to play. Cutler led the Commodores all the way to the MT 18-yard line with 3 seconds left and would attempt a 36-yard field goal. Senior Jeremiah Weaver came storming in from the right side to cleanly block the FG attempt and send Middle Tennessee to a dramatic victory.

Malcolm Beyah “Hail Mary” catch vs FAU in 2008

Trailing 13-7, the Blue Raiders started their final drive at their own 35-yard line with 1:15 left to play and no timeouts. QB Joe Craddock and freshman receiver Malcolm Beyah teamed to provide the “Murfreesboro Miracle” on a play called “Hope”. Craddock threw the game-tying pass to Beyah in the right corner of the endzone with no time left to give the Blue Raiders an improbable victory on national television. It marked the first time in school history the Blue Raiders had won a game on the final play of regulation.

 Alan Gendreau last second field goal at Maryland in 2009
Trailing 31-29 at Maryland with 1:30 to play, Middle Tennessee went 73 yards in eight plays with no timeouts left to set up a possible game-winning field goal. With :02 seconds left, Alan Gendreau came on and hit a 19-yard field goal as time expired to give the Blue Raiders a second straight upset of the Terps.

Corey Leonard to Kevin Jones Touchdown Gives Arkansas State Win at Texas A&M
Corey Leonard’s Hail Mary Leads ASU to stunning win at Memphis
ULL’s Tyler Albrecht's first career FG attempt from 48 yards beats K-State with 32 ticks left
ULL’s Tyrell Fenroy claims his fourth 1,000-yard rushing season - just the 7th in history
ULM’s James Truxillo Forced Fumble at Alabama Keys Upset
OL Junior Louissaint’s Rumbling Touchdown for Troy against Missouri
The Miracle in Murfreesboro – Troy’s Smokey Hampton Upside-down Catch

TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY TEAM

Offense

Rusty Smith (Florida Atlantic, Quarterback)
Tyrell Fenroy (Louisiana-Lafayette, Running Back)
Patrick Cobbs (North Texas, Running Back)
Casey Fitzgerald (North Texas, Wide Receiver)
Jerrel Jernigan (Troy, Wide Receiver) 
Jason Harmon (Florida Atlantic, Tight End) 
Matt Mandich (Arkansas State, Offensive Line) 
Chris Fisher (Louisiana-Lafayette, Offensive Line) 
Brandon Westbrook (Middle Tennessee, Offensive Line) 
2001-2003: Westbrook is the only player in Middle Tennessee history to be tabbed first team All-Sun Belt three years in a row … Opened up holes for some of the top running backs in school history in Dwone Hicks, ReShard Lee, and Eugene Gross … Had 310.5 knockdowns over his career … Started 43 games during his career and showcased his versatility by having starts at center, left tackle, right tackle, and left guard … Played 2,788 snaps during his career and tallied a career-best 108 knockdowns in 2002 … Voted a Freshman All-American in 2000 by CollegeFootballNews.com … Made the Lombardi Watch List, the FWAA All-American Watch List, and the Outland Trophy Watch List during his career.

Nick Zuniga (North Texas, Offensive Line)
Dion Small (Troy, Offensive Line)

Defense

Alex Carrington (Arkansas State, Defensive Line)
Jeff Littlejohn (Middle Tennessee, Defensive Line)
2002-2005: Littlejohn became Middle Tennessee’s first Defensive Player of the Year since Mike Caldwell in 1992 when he was crowned the Sun Belt’s top defensive player in 2005 … Led a defensive unit in 2005 that allowed just 18.7 points per game which still ranks as the best mark in Middle Tennessee’s FBS and Sun Belt era … In his stellar senior season, Littlejohn registered a career-best 34 stops to go with 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, and a blocked field goal … Was a part of Blue Raider teams that defeated Vanderbilt twice on the road.

Brandon Kennedy (North Texas, Defensive Line)
Demarcus Ware (Troy, Defensive Line)
Frantz Joseph (Florida Atlantic, Linebackers)
Cardia Jackson (Louisiana-Monroe, Linebackers)
Boris Lee (Troy, Linebackers)
Tyrell Johnson (Arkansas State, Defensive Back)
Charles Tillman (Louisiana-Lafayette, Defensive Back)
Chris Harris (Louisiana-Monroe, Defensive Back)
Leodis McKelvin (Troy, Defensive Back)


Special Teams
Josh Arauco (Arkansas State, Placekicker)
Joel Stelly (Louisiana-Monroe, Punter)
Leodis McKelvin (Troy, Return Specialist)

Specialty Awards

Tenth Anniversary Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Patrick Cobbs (North Texas)
Tenth Anniversary Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Brandon Kennedy (North Texas)
Tenth Anniversary Most Outstanding Head Coach: Larry Blakeney (Troy)

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