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Zero turnovers in second Blue Raider scrimmage

Defense totals 13 tackles for loss, including eight sacks

April 2, 2011 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee football team completed its second spring scrimmage Saturday afternoon with zero turnovers during a near-150 play two-hour session at Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The Blue Raider offense accounted for nearly 700 yards in all, including 471 through the air as three quarterbacks finished a combined 72-of-101 and seven touchdowns. Three more scores were added on the ground among 46 carries for 203 yards.

Jeff Murphy topped the signal callers with a 36-of-53 performance for 313 yards and four touchdowns. He completed scoring strikes to Malcolm Beyah (13 yards), Anthony Amos (four yards and 22 yards) and Sancho McDonald (five yards). Murphy also scored the first rushing TD, a four-yard scamper up the middle.

Logan Kilgore also was productive through the air, finishing with 190 yards on 28-of-36 with two touchdowns. He located Richard Drake from seven yards and Amos from nine yards away for his two scoring tosses. He also added a four-yard touchdown carry.

The other quarterback in camp, Spencer Wise, completed 8-of-12 for 68 yards. His scoring heave was five yards to Kennedy McGruder.

William Pratcher crossed the goal line for the only other touchdown, a four-yard gain, as he led the ground attack with 66 yards on 10 carries. Drayton Allen-Calhoun also had 10 rushes for 43 yards.

Other notables in the backfield included 24 yards on eight carries by Tony Rowland and 21 yards on four touches by Murphy.

Amos topped the receiving corp by hauling in 11 passes for 127 yards. Tavarres Jefferson grabbed eight catches for 76 yards, while Beyah posted 89 yards on seven receptions. McDonald and Harold Turner Jr. each had a half-dozen catches for 42 and 24 yards, respectively.

The Middle Tennessee defense finished with eight sacks among its 13 tackles for loss. Morris Moore had one-and-a-half sacks to pace the unit to go along with a pass deflection. His pass break up was one of four on the day for the Blue Raider defense.

Darin Davis contributed a sack and deflection, while Jimmy Staten had a break up to go along with his tackle for loss.

Middle Tennessee will return to the practice field this week in preparation for its annual Spring Game, set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Stadium. Admission is free for the spring game.

Head Coach Rick Stockstill
On tempo of the scrimmage
That has been our theme this whole spring. We wanted to increase our tempo, along with some other things as well. We got about 154 plays in, in less than two hours, so I liked our tempo.

On the play of walk-on Anthony Amos
He was on the team last year and we red-shirted him. He is a bigger body, he has been really productive, he catches the ball well, he runs good routes. He is not real fast, but he has some deceptiveness to him. We had hoped coming into spring that he would be able to help us, and he has answered the bell real well. I am real pleased with Amos.

On the improvement of Drayton Allen-Calhoun
The biggest difference was from last week to this week. Today was the first time he has been a running back since he was in high school. He had been at LSU for two years and it takes some time to get back into that. I can see the increased confidence in him in just one week. I thought he had some nice runs, he put his foot in the ground for the most part, so I was pleased with him today.

On the improvement of Logan Kilgore
Last week he did not check down to secondary receivers when the deep throw was not there and threw some interceptions. You have to take what the defense gives you to be successful as a quarterback. He worked hard on that all this week, he got better in practice, and I thought he had a better day today.

On the diversity of Benjamin Cunningham
Bennie is one of our better players, period. He could help us on defense, he could help us as a running back, he could help us on special teams. Bennie will be on the football field because we are a better football team when he is on the field because of his passion, his leadership and how hard he works. He is a football player. He practices with a tremendous attitude and he has got a great work ethic. I have said it many times, if you had a 100 Bennie Cunninghams, you would be a dang good football team.

Jimmy Staten
I think we progressed a lot today from last week. The D-line, and backfield, we have all come a long way.

On gaining 30 pounds since last season
I have been working out and eating mostly. I needed the extra weight to move from defensive end to tackle. I am playing the same position that Dwight Smith played last year. I feel good about it. I believe that I am going to make plays, and if sometimes I am out of line, I know my D-line is going to be there to back me up. It is not all new to me. I played some defensive tackle last year. I am bigger than I was last year, but I may not be quite as quick.

Logan Kilgore
It is definitely nice to get out in the second scrimmage. Last week, there was nothing wrong with me physically, just poor decisions. Today, I made better decisions, trusted the offense more and played within the system. As far as installing our offense, we are a little farther along than we were last week. At every practice, we put in a little more. In fact, we tried some stuff today that we had not even tried all week.

On zero interceptions today
The coaches really preach protecting the ball and it was not just the fact that we did not have any interceptions, it was the improvement made by the receivers as well. We did not have any balls tipped up in the air where they could be intercepted. Our receivers have done a great job all spring and we needed it. If we did not need it, then we would just come out September 3, ready to play. No matter how good you think you did, you can still improve and still learn.

On receivers
They have definitely improved. They have done a great job all spring. I am really impressed with them and the attitude they bring out here. Coach (Justin) Watts really preaches that and they come out here excited, ready to work every day and it is a good feeling.

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