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September 12, 2008

The bulletin board: MT at Kentucky

Middle Tennessee goes for an unprecedented second straight win over a major BCS opponent Saturday at Kentucky.

If that's not enough to get you hyped, we bring you the GoMiddle.com Bulletin Board, an exclusive feature compiling all the quotes, notes and facts you need to know to make you the most prepared fan for the Blue Raiders' upcoming matchup with the Wildcats.


at
Saturday, September 13th, 6:00 p.m.
Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington (Kent.)


Key Stats


* Middle Tennessee ranks second nationally in time of possession and eighth in turnover margin.

* Middle Tennessee has four of the Sun Belt's 10 wins against Big Six conference opponents since the Sun Belt's inception in 2001. The Blue Raiders' four win total leads the conference.

* Kentucky opponents have only reached the red zone twice all season. Louisville and Norfolk State each made it inside the 20-yard line once and together could only muster three points.

* Kentucky has allowed opponents to convert just 6-of-29 third downs (20.7 percent).

* Middle Tennessee has uncharacteristically committed more penalties than its opponent in each of the first two games. The Blue Raiders have ranked in the upper half of the Sun Belt in fewest penalty yards in each of Rick Stockstill's two seasons.

* Middle Tennessee has gained at least two first downs on its first possession of both games this season.

* Kentucky is allowing just 2.1 yards per rush. Middle Tennessee's offense is averaging just 2.2 yards per carry.

The Series

* Middle Tennessee and Kentucky will meet for the second time in history with the Wildcats holding a 1-0 all time series lead.

* The two teams played first in 2002.

* This will be the second consecutive game at Kentucky's Commonwealth Stadium.

* Kentucky won the first meeting 44-22 after pulling away late against the Blue Raiders.

* Saturday will mark the first meeting between Kentucky coach Rich Brooks and Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill. In the 2002 meeting, Kentucky was coached by Guy Morris and Middle Tennessee was coached by Andy McCollum.

Connections

* Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill spent 10 years of his childhood living in Georgetown, Kentucky, a short 12 mile drive from Lexington.

* The Middle Tennessee roster contains two players from the state of Kentucky:

OG Chris Hawkins (Lexington)
WR Wes Caldwell (Lexington)

* The Kentucky roster contains 13 players from the state of Tennessee.

FB Stephen Ball (Franklin Road Academy)
TB Trey Bowland (Christian Academy of Knoxville)
QB Randall Cobb (Alcoa)
CB Daryl Faulkner (Whitehaven)
LS J.J. Helton (Franklin)
DE Jeremy Jarmon (Houston)
LB William Johnson (Pearl-Cohn)
WR Kyrus Lanxter (Alcoa)
DT Ricky Lumpkin (Kenwood)
QB DeAunte Mason (Pearl-Cohn)
FB A.J. Nance (Knoxville Central)
K Lones Seiber (Knoxville Central)
DE Collins Ukwu (LaVergne)


Quotes

* Kentucky head coach Rich Brooks to the Louisville Courier-Journal on his plans for quarterbacks Mike Hartline and Randall Cobb against Middle Tennessee:

"We'll play both quarterbacks in the first half, and depending on who's moving the ball the best, that one might play a little more than the other one."


* Brooks in his weekly press conference on his defense's hot start and his concerns about Middle Tennessee's offense:

"It's the best defense I've had since I've been here and I will continue to say that. Sometimes we match up better against certain schemes than others. This (game vs. Middle Tennessee) will be our most severe test defensively."


* Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon on what he sees in Middle Tennessee's offense:

"They spread the ball around a lot in their offense. After watching film on them, they remind me a lot of Florida. A lot of things that they do are very similar. Their quarterback does some things that Tim Tebow does, like a draw pass. They have a quick offensive line and they are well-balanced. It's going to be the toughest challenge so far this year, so we are going to have to be well prepared for them."


* Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill in his weekly press conference on the challenge of preparing his team to quickly come down from the emotional high of beating Maryland:

"To be honest with you I'm looking forward to it. I would rather bring (the players) down than try to get them up. I think these guys understand now, they've been with me for two years and two games and they know how we approach things. We'll get after it on the practice field and I can promise you that ... (the Maryland win) will be behind us."


* MT linebacker Danny Carmichael on what he thinks is the biggest key to a win:

"We have to win the turnover margin. Playing a team like Kentucky you can't make many mistakes and expect to win. We have to get pressure on the quarterback and force him to make some throws he doesn't want to make."


* MT quarterback Joe Craddock on the motivation he derives from facing a defense that has not allowed a touchdown all season:

"Makes me want to prepare more, practice harder. Drives me to want to want to put some points on the board and do something others have not been able to do."


Did You Know?

* This will be the 18th game Middle Tennessee has played against an SEC opponent since moving up to Division 1-A (now FBS). The Blue Raiders are 3-14 in such games with all three wins coming over Vanderbilt.

* Middle Tennessee is 1-10 under Stockstill when scoring less than 20 points. The only victory when scoring less than 20 came in Stockstill's first game, when the Blue Raiders beat Florida International 7-6 in 2006.

* Middle Tennessee is tied with Alabama for having the fewest number of scholarship seniors on the roster. Both programs have just nine scholarship seniors.

* MT's 39:49 time of possession against Maryland was the second highest mark in the Stockstill era, trailing only the 40:41 mark established in 2006 against North Texas.

* MT punter David DeFatta's pass completion to Alvin Ingle on a fake punt against Maryland was the first Blue Raider pass attempt by a punter since 2003 and the first completed pass by a punter in the 1-A era.

* MT is tied for 25th nationally in combined sacks over the last two full seasons. The Blue Raiders are tied in the category with Sun Belt rival Troy. MT has five sacks through two games this season.

* The Blue Raider defense has forced eight opponent drives to end with a 3-and-out punt.



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