Raiders fall in regular season finale

Gendreau becomes SBC's all-time leading scorer

December 3, 2011 · Athletic Communications
DENTON, Tex. – Middle Tennessee put a wrap on the 2011 football season with a 59-7 loss to North Texas before 15,962 at Apogee Stadium. The Blue Raiders ended the year with six straight losses to finish 2-10 overall and 1-7 in Sun Belt play.

The Blue Raiders were led offensively by Benny Cunningham who gained 80 yards on 15 carries. Jamal Gray grabbed two passes for 24 yards. Kyle Griswould added one 20-yard catch for a touchdown.

Defensively, Middle Tennessee got seven tackles from Omar McLendon, while Sammy Seamster and Craig Allen added six stops.

The Mean Green got a Sun Belt Conference rushing record of 313 yards and four touchdowns from Lance Dunbar while James Hamilton added 108 yards on the ground.

North Texas forced three turnovers and were led by Ryan Downing on defense with six tackles.

North Texas wasted little time getting on the scoreboard by going 54 yards in nine plays on its opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. The Mean Green ran it all nine times and became the fifth opponent this season to score against the Blue Raiders on the games opening drive.

After two three-and-outs by the offense, the Middle Tennessee defense came up with a turnover midway through the first quarter when Kendall Dangerfield recovered a fumble at the Mean Green 46-yard line. However, the Blue Raiders could only manage four yards and had to punt. MT’s first three drives netted just two yards.

North Texas made it 14-0 by going 67 yards in just six plays as Lance Dunbar scored on a 1-yard run on fourth down.

After another three-and-out, the Blue Raider defense held but gave the ball right back to the Mean Green when Tavarres Jefferson fumbled the punt inside the MT 25-yard line. North Texas took just three plays to reach the end zone as Dunbar scored from 26 yards out to take a commanding 21-0 lead.

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The Blue Raiders picked up their initial first down of the game with 12:59 to go on the half when they recovered a Benny Cunningham fumble. MT advanced to the North Texas 21 before another Cunningham fumble gave it back to the home team.

North Texas took full advantage by going 79 yards, all on the ground, to take a 28-0 lead. Dunbar scored his third straight touchdown on a 5-yard run.

The Blue Raiders advanced deep into Mean Green territory but saw their drive end on another Cunningham fumble. The defense held and forced a North Texas punt but the Blue Raiders went for it on fourth down at their own 44-yard line and came up empty.

North Texas moved it to the 23-yard line and settled for a Zach Olen 40-yard field goal to make the score, 31-0 at the break.

The Blue Raiders got the ball to begin the final 60 minutes and quickly punted it back to the Mean Green. North Texas put its ground game to work again by going 66 yards in eight plays to take a 38-0 lead. Again, it was Dunbar who scored on a 14-yard run.

North Texas scored twice more in the quarter on a James Hamilton 1-yard run and then on a 3-yard return of a blocked punt by Julian Herron to extend the lead to 52-0.

The Mean Green added a touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by Brandin Byrd then Middle Tennessee answered with its first score of the game on a 20-yard reception by Griswould from Murphy. The Blue Raiders went 61 yards in five plays to prevent the shutout and make the score 59-7.

PERMANENT CAPTAINS: Late this past week, Head Coach Rick Stockstill announced the 2011 permanent team captains, the programs ultimate honor. The winners are voted on by the players. The 2011 captains are OL Colin Boss, RB Marquise Branton, CB Arness Ikner, and S Derrick Crumpton.

GAMES PLAYED: Seniors Alan Gendreau, Sancho McDonald, Mike Williams, and Derrick Crumpton all played their 50th career game today which ties for the second most in school history. The all-time record is 52 set by Mike Caldwell.

GENDREAU OWNS SBC RECORD: With one point today, senior place-kicker Alan Gendreau became the Sun Belt Conference’s all-time leading scorer. Gendreau ended his career with 295 points to break the previous record of 294 set by ULL’s Tyrell Fenroy.

FIRST QUARTER WOES: Middle Tennessee fell behind once again after the first quarter, 14-0, to make the season total read Opponents 126, MT 44. Over the last six games, MT was outscored in the first quarter 85-2.

QUICK HITTERS: MT won the toss for the fourth straight game … Denzell Guerra made his first collegiate start today in place of Derrick Crumpton … Middle Tennessee has now given up a touchdown on the opponents opening drive for the fifth time this season and third time in last four games … Kendall Dangerfield picked up his first career fumble recovery in the first quarter … Eric Russell was suspended by the Sun Belt Conference for the first half … Middle Tennessee’s nine kickoff returns against North Texas ties the school record for most in the single game.

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