Blue garners first win under Stockstill during annual Spring Game

High-scoring affair ends with seven-point difference

April 9, 2011 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Blue captured its first win over White in six tries during the Rick Stockstill era, holding on for a 67-60 victory Saturday afternoon in the annual Blue-White Game at Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The four quarterbacks that suited up for Middle Tennessee combined for 407 yards on 39-of-65 passes, including a pair of touchdowns and four interceptions. Logan Kilgore paced the group with 163 yards on 18-of-26, while Jeff Murphy added an 11-of-17 performance for 127 yards.

Anthony Amos set the tone for the receiving corps with 65 yards on five catches, including both scoring receptions. Richard Drake and Marcus Thurmond also had five catches apiece for 51 and 31 yards, respectively. In all, 14 different Blue Raiders were credited with at least one reception.

Leading the ground attack was Tony Rowland with 37 yards, edging out 24 yards by Benjamin Cunningham and 20 yards from Drayton Allen-Calhoun.

Defensively, Marquise Dixon topped the White with seven tackles, while Patrick McNeil had six stops, featuring three-and-a-half for a loss of 15 yards. Twenty total tackles for loss were given to the unit, including six sacks, while White was credited with four interceptions, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

Blue's first drive began on its own 35 and reached pay dirt at 7:32 of the first quarter when Kilgore hit Amos across the back of the end zone from four yards away. The scoring toss capped a 12-play drive which featured four first downs to help pad the Blue advantage to 11-0 based on the different scoring rules.

Just three plays into the second possession, Blue's Murphy connected on a 42-yard strike to Malcolm Beyah to set the offense up at the White 20-yard line. The White defense held firm and forced a 27-yard field goal by Alan Gendreau, only allowing Blue to jump out to a 17-1 edge at the 5:42 mark.

View more photos

The third touchdown came when Amos grabbed in a 12-yard toss from Kilgore in traffic, surrounded by four defenders. Kilgore directed the offense down the field in 11 plays before completing his second scoring pass of the afternoon to give Blue a 27-3 lead. The signal caller finished 5-of-7 on the drive.

The White began its first quarter comeback attempt when Jajuan Harley stepped in front of a Kilgore pass for the first turnover, pulling White within 20, 28-8. Blue then took over at the 27 and ran four more plays before ending the frame ahead, 29-10.

Again, the White defense stood tall, as it forced another Gendreau field goal, this time from 31 yards out, to push the score to 32-11 with 7:18 remaining in the second quarter.

The lead swelled to 31, 42-11, when Rowland rolled off would-be defenders and laid across the goal line backwards, stretching the ball across the plane with 4:52 left in the opening half. No other scoring took place before the intermission, however, because of the scoring system, Blue held a 47-23 lead at the break despite a 65-yard field goal attempt by Gendreau that was left short due to kicking into the wind.

As the second half began with the running clock, third-string quarterback Spencer Wise quickly directed the offense into another scoring situation. Kennedy McGruder put more Blue points on the board with his plunge into the end zone from a yard away. It would be the only scoring of the third quarter, as Blue held a 61-42 advantage entering the final 10 minutes.

Zachary Lopez put the only true points on the board in the final frame, converting a 37-yard field goal to push the Blue lead to 19, 65-46, with 5:37 to play. William Carter ended the game with an interception of Luke Hayes, marking the final score.

The Spring Game concludes the practices for the spring and the Blue Raiders will now prepare for the 2011 season opener Sept. 3 at Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind.

2011 Spring Practice Awards
Most Improved Quarterback: Jeff Murphy
Most Improved Running Back: William Pratcher
Most Improved Wide Receiver: Richard Drake
Most Improved Offensive Lineman: Isaiah Anderson
Most Improved Defensive Lineman: Jimmy Staten
Most Improved Linebacker: David Jones
Most Improved Safety: Sammy Seamster
Most Improved Corner: Chris Sharpe

Most Improved Strength Training Quarterback: Logan Kilgore
Most Improved Strength Training Running Back: Drayton Allen-Calhoun
Most Improved Strength Training Wide Receiver: Sancho McDonald
Most Improved Strength Training Offensive Lineman: Josh Walker
Most Improved Strength Training Defensive Lineman: Max Ugboaja
Most Improved Strength Training Linebacker: Darin Davis
Most Improved Strength Training Safety: Eric Russell
Most Improved Strength Training Corner: T.L. Edwards
Most Improved Strength Training Specialist: Zeke Anderson

Jeanne Massaquoi Freshman Academic Award: Max Ugboaja
Donald Craig Sophomore Academic Award: David Jones
Dr. James E. Walker Junior Academic Award: Omar McLendon
Dr. Sidney McPhee Senior Academic Award: Brandon McLeroy

(Excellence in academics, football, strength training, community service, and campus activities)

I thought we did a good job both offensively and defensively. We limited ourselves an awful lot on both sides of the ball, but overall I thought it was a good day. We did a good job of throwing and catching, we had a couple of drops in the second half that were disappointing, but for the most part, I was very pleased with today's effort.

(On rhythm of the offense): I thought both Logan (Kilgore) and Jeff (Murphy) did a nice job. They didn't force throws, and did a good job of throwing the ball away when they needed to. Early, I thought we threw and caught the ball really well, and played at a high tempo. Having a good game today gives those guys confidence going into the summer. They had some success out here today, and now we need to make sure we report in August in good shape so we can go at a high tempo. I feel the guys coming off the field today have confidence going into the summer.

(On Turnovers): I am pleased with what we have done from a ball security standpoint this spring. We had three in the first scrimmage, none in the second scrimmage, and one here today. Defensively, they have done a good job in their individual drills and their segments in creating turnovers and getting them. I think the emphasis has paid off this spring, but we have to do it again next fall when we do it for real.

(On standouts in today's game): I don't think anybody stood out today that hasn't done well all spring. Logan and Jeff did a good job. Anthony Amos continued to have a good solid spring. Bennie Cunningham really ran hard early when he was in there. He looked explosive and looks like a guy we can really depend on. Defensively, Omar McClendon had a good day and he's had a consistent spring as well. I think Sammy Seamster is the guy that stood out today. He's made some good plays this spring, and made a couple of nice ones today.

QB LOGAN KILGORE: As an offense, we definitely improved today, and gave the Blue its first victory in six years. This will give us momentum going into the offseason, everyone is upbeat. The feeling from last year to this year, it's definitely a positive feeling. Jeff and I will get the offense out for voluntary workouts this summer. It makes it nice that he and I are roommates.

LB GORBY LOREUS: (On stepping up this year): I'm a senior. This is my last year. I have to go. This is my last shot. I have to step up now; I have to be there for the other players, and try to win. (On being a hard hitter in Coach Ellis' defensive schemes): It is definitely working out fine. Everyone has bought into the scheme, all the players are Ellis-type of players, who like to run after the ball and go hard every play. The coaching staff stands behind us, and supports us in playing hard.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.