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Blue Raiders shutout FIU en route to bowl eligibility

Kilgore inks school-record 19th career 200-yard passing game

November 9, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee put together 556 yards of total offense en route to a 48-0 shutout over FIU at the annual Armed Forces and Veterans game at Floyd Stadium. Saturday's victory propelled the Raiders to their sixth win, marking the fourth time in five years MT has reached bowl eligibility.

MT took control early and never looked back, holding a 24-point halftime lead. The Raiders extended the lead in the second half with an additional 24 points. MT held an opponent scoreless for the first time since shutting out North Texas, 35-0, on Sept. 30, 2006.

Offensively, the Raiders (6-4, 4-2 C-USA) reached 500-plus yards for the first time this season. The production was nearly balanced as MT put together 307 yards in the air and 249 on the ground. FIU (1-8, 1-4 C-USA) was held to 233 yards on 51 snaps and just 10 first downs. MT capitalized on four FIU turnovers in the contest.

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Redshirt senior quarterback Logan Kilgore continued to climb the record books. The Rocklin, Calif., product completed 17-of-20 passes yards for 269 yards and a touchdown. Kilgore also broke loose for a rushing touchdown. Kilgore's 85 completion percentage on Saturday ranked third best in school history. 

The senior set a school record with his 19th career 200-yard passing game. Kilgore tied Wes Counts for a school record with 50 career passing touchdowns. The gunslinger moved up the chart in career passing yardage, overtaking Kelly Holcomb for third place with 7,134 yards.

True freshman Shane Tucker netted 95 yards with two touchdowns, including a 48-yard touchdown run. Redshirt senior Corey Carmichael added 65 yards and a touchdown, while Drayton Calhoun picked up 62 on the evening.

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The Blue Raiders had seven different receivers with 20 or more yards. Christian Collis led the way with three snags for 71 yards. Tavvares Jefferson had the only receiving TD, finishing the night with 44 yards on four catches.

Tucker notched his first career touchdown with a 48 yard run up the middle to give the Raiders the early edge. The freshman once again responded when Tucker busted it 17 yards and hit the corner pylon to give MT a 14-0 edge.

Defensively, Kevin Byard led MT with two tackles and a pick-six. Sammy Seamster and Christian Henry had five tackles each to lead the Raiders in total tackles. 

In the second quarter, MT extended its lead to 24 at the half after a 22-yard field goal from Cody Clark and a Kilgore rushing touchdown.

Middle Tennessee put together 316 yards of offense, limiting the Pantehrs to 181 yards. Kilgore completed 11-of-12 for 157 yards, while Tucker put together 93 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Raiders.

Opportunities once again popped up for the Raiders when Byard intercepted a pass and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown. The interception TD return was the second for Byard with one coming against Troy on Nov. 24, 2012.

Kilgore tied a school record with his 50 career touchdown pass, a seven-yard strike to Jefferson, to give the Raiders a 38-point edge. Clark added a 32-yard field goal to boast the Raiders to a 41-point lead. MT extended the lead to 48-0 when Corey Carmichael used a one-yard touchdown to cap a 68-yard drive.

The Blue Raiders have a bye next week before partaking in the final road game at Southern Miss on Nov. 23.

NOTES

CAPTAINS: Today's game captains were T.T. Barber, Jadareius Hamlin, and Roderic Blunt.

SHUTOUT: Middle Tennessee registered its first shutout since 2006 with the 48-0 win over FIU Saturday. The previous shutout was against North Texas, 35-0, on September 30, 2006. It is also the third shutout under Rick Stockstill.

BOWL ELIGIBLE: With the win over FIU today, Middle Tennessee became bowl eligible with its sixth victory. The Blue Raiders have now been bowl eligible four times in the last five years.

TUCKER SHINES: A week after taking off his redshirt, true freshman Shane Tucker exploded in front of the home crowd as he made his first collegiate start. Tucker rushed for a career-high 95 yards on 11 carries and scored two touchdowns. Tucker had scoring runs of 48 and 17 yards.

BYARD AT IT AGAIN: Sophomore safety Kevin Byard has shown a knack for being around the football during his short career. With a forced fumble and interception today against FIU, Byard has now forced or gained 12 turnovers (8 INTs, 3 FF, 1 FR) in 22 career games.

GRISWOULD TIES MOSTILLER: With his first catch today, senior Kyle Griswould has now caught at least one pass in 32 straight games. That figure ties him with Demetric Mostiller (1994-96) for the second longest streak in school history. The all-time mark is 43 by Kendall Newson.

BYARD MOVES TO SECOND: Sophomore Kevin Byard's 51-yard interception return against FIU moved him past Ray Oldham (1969-72) for second place on the all-time interception return yards list. Byard now has 275 career interception return yards and is just 12 shy of the all-time record of 286 held by James Griffin (1979-82). Byard also now has three interceptions returned for touchdowns which is a new career record at MT.

KILGORE SHARES TD MARK: Quarterback Logan Kilgore tossed his 50th career touchdown pass in the third quarter when he connected with Tavarres Jefferson on a 7-yard strike. Kilgore now shares the MT all-time passing TD record with Wes Counts and needs one more to own the mark by himself.

THIRD STRAIGHT: With today's rushing performance, Middle Tennessee has now topped the 250-yard mark for the third straight game. For the year, MT has gone over 200 yards five times and 31 times under Rick Stockstill.

QUICK HITTERS: RB Shane Tucker made his first career start today ... With the opening drive TD by the Blue Raiders, MT has now scored a touchdown on its opening drive of the game 24 times under Rick Stockstill ... WR Kyle Griswould made his team-leading 25th straight start today ... Kyle Griswould has now caught at least one pass in 32 straight games which ranks tied for second longest in school history ... DT Jimmy Staten, P Josh Davis, and OL Josh Walker all played in their 46th career games which is tops on the team ... MT threw a first half shutout for the first time this season and the first time since blanking North Texas in 2012 - a span of 14 games ... QB Logan Kilgore registered his 19th career 200-yard passing game to own the all-time record out-right ... With 269 yards passing today, Logan Kilgore surpassed Kelly Holcomb for third on the all-time yardage list. Kilgore now has 7,134 career passing yards ... WR Christian Collis had a career-high 71 receiving yards.

QUOTES

Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Stockstill

On tonight's game...

I was really proud of our team. I thought we had a good week of practice. I could tell our focus was at a high level all week. We kept our intensity at a high level all day today and I'm really happy for out team.

On getting bowl eligible...

It's a really big deal, especially for our seniors. It's huge to be able to say we've been bowl eligible now four out of the last five years. It's a big deal for our program. But we don't want to stop at six, we want to get to seven or eight and we can still do that in the next couple of weeks.

On the running backs...

I thought Corey [Carmichael] did a great job and gave us another presence especially down near the goal line. Drayton [Calhoun] did a good job today too. I thought he danced a little bit too much at times, but that's probably just inexperience because he hasn't played back there since before last year. But we'll get him ready to go for this week.

On Logan Kilgore's play today...

Logan looked very confident and made some really nice throws today, but I thought our offensive line played really well today too. They gave Logan great protection in the passing game and then played really well in the running game too, so I was really proud of them.

On the shutout...

It's always good for the defense to get a shutout. You always want one of those during the season. We played a lot of the second teamers there late and I was really proud that they forced that missed field goal there at the end to preserve the shutout for the starters. That's really big for them and I'm really proud of how they played. We also forced some turnovers, which is always great to see. The defense probably played the best they've played all year tonight.

On the bye week coming up...

We'll take a couple days off, the bye week is going to help us a lot. We have some guys nicked up right now and we just have to work to get them back healthy, but we'll get to work and get ready for Southern Miss.

RB Corey Carmichael

On tonight's game...

The last time I played tail back was sophomore year of high school, but it was good to get back there and help the team out. I'm ready to do whatever the team needs just to help us out. It's a team effort every time we go out there. We have some good running backs and we'll get them back healthy soon, but I'm ready to help out the team anyway I can and it's great that we were really successful tonight.

On following brother Danny Carmichael...

I've been coming up here for a long time to watch Danny, so it's a little weird that the roles are reversed now, but it's really good to play for the school he played for and I know he's really proud of me and how well the team is doing right now.

S Kevin Byard

On tonight's game...

Getting a shutout is the best feeling in the world for a defensive player. That's what we strive for every week and it's great to have it pay off tonight. It's the first shutout since I've been here so it's a really great feeling.

On the interception...

I was playing kind of a deep middle position and I saw the quarterback's eyes and just jumped the route. Once I caught it I just ran as hard as I could. I had some good blocking in front of me and was able to get into the end zone.

On the bye week coming up this week...

This bye week comes at a crucial time for us. We have some guys injured right now and we need to get them healthy. We'll celebrate this win for a little bit but this week it's right back to the grind stone to get ready for Southern Miss.

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