September 19, 2008

The Bulletin Board: MT at Arkansas State

It's back to the Sun Belt Conference grind this week as the Blue Raiders hit the road to battle Arkansas State in Jonesboro.

Today, we bring you the weekly 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 Red Wolves.


at
Saturday, September 20th, 6:00 p.m.
ASU Stadium, Jonesboro (Ark.)


Key Stats


* Middle Tennessee is 6-2 in Sun Belt Conference road games under Rick Stockstill.

* The Middle Tennessee offensive line has not allowed a sack in its last two games.

* Arkansas State is 23-8 all time at ASU Stadium under head coach Steve Roberts and are 6-1 in Sun Belt Conference openers dating back to 2001, the year before Roberts took over.

* Arkansas State defensive end Alex Carrington leads the Sun Belt Conference in tackles for loss with five.

* Arkansas State running back Reggie Arnold is averaging more than eight yards per touch, including 25 receiving yards and 352 rushing yards.

* Middle Tennessee has averaged 405 yards of total offense in the series with Arkansas State since both programs joined the Sun Belt.

* This game matches two of the highest rated passers in college football. Arkansas State signal caller Corey Leonard is ranked 20th nationally with a 161.5 pass efficiency rating. Middle Tennessee's Joe Craddock ranks 44th nationally with a 137.0 rating.

The Series

* Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State will meet for the 10th time in history with the Blue Raiders holding an 8-1 all time series lead.

* The two teams played first in 1948, with MT claiming a 14-7 victory in Murfreesboro.

* This will be the fifth game of the series played at Jonesboro, with MT holding a 3-1 edge in the first four games at Arkansas State.

* Arkansas State's lone win in the series was a 13-7 victory in 2002.

* MT has won five games in a row in the series, outscoring Arkansas State by a cumulative 121 points.

* Saturday will mark the third meeting between Arkansas State coach Steve Roberts and Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill. Stockstill holds a 2-0 head-to-head edge, having won 38-10 in 2006 and 24-7 in 2007.

Connections

* The Middle Tennessee roster contains one player from the state of Arkansas:

OL Rogeric Govan (Little Rock)

* The Arkansas State roster contains eight players from the state of Tennessee.

LB Javon McKinnon (Melrose)
LB Greg Hardy (Melrose)
DB Daylan Walker (Milan)
DB Jaquan Kilcrease (McGavock)
LB Jonathan Looney (Germantown)
DE Brian Flagg (Ripley)
WR Jonathan White (Battle Ground Academy)
DL Khari Mays (Germantown)


Quotes

* Arkansas State head coach Steve Roberts in his weekly teleconference on his thoughts on Middle Tennessee and the Blue Raiders' potent passing attack:

"I've watched a little film, haven't had a chance to watch all three games yet, but they are very talented at all the skill positons. The quarterback is playing great football, he threw the ball over 350 yards last week against Kentucky. The defense, just like always, is fast and physical. Special teams are very solid, they'll be a tremendous challenge. No doubt, it will be a tough test, they've got an experienced quarterback and tremendous skill people that he gets the ball to, so it will be a big test for our secondary."


* Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill in his weekly press conference on his program's successful track record in Sun Belt Conference road games:

"We don't approach it any different as far as being an away game or home game. We don't emphasize anything differently. We prepare early in the week the same we do every week. We do talk about what we are going there for and prepare ourselves mentally but the routine doesn't change. I think we have a good mindset and focus that our players block out the opposing crowd, opposing atmosphere and prepare ourselves mentally on the job we have to do."


* Middle Tennessee quarterback Joe Craddock on the strong start to the season for the passing attack:

"When coach Stock brought in coach (G.A.) Mangus as offensive coordinator he said I was going to enjoy this offense and I took it to mean we would be throwing the ball more. We just have more skill players now than the previous two seasons and the results are showing."


* MT linebacker Danny Carmichael on the challenges of defending Arkansas State's combination of quarterback Corey Leonard and running back Reggie Arnold:

"From games in the past Corey is a dual-threat quarterback. He runs the ball hard and makes good decisions. If you let him get in the open field he can make you miss. Arnold is a tough, hard runner. You have to wrap up because he can break tackles."


* Arkansas State head coach Steve Roberts on why his teams have struggled against Middle Tennessee:

"I'm not going to say it's by chance. They have good football teams, and they've played very well when we play them. They're a very well-coached, talented football team. I don't know the reason why we haven't played well in those games.


Did You Know?

* Middle Tennessee receiver Malcolm Beyah ranks second among freshmen nationally in receiving yards per game.

* Three of Joe Craddock's five touchdown passes this year have come on third down.

* Arkansas State has had five touchdown drives of 80 or more yards in its first three games and has had at least one in each game.

* In the last five games of this series, Middle Tennessee has intercepted 12 Arkansas State passes.

* MT punter David DeFatta has placed at least one punt inside the opponent's 20-yard line in 15 straight games.

* MT set a school record with nine sacks in last year's 24-7 win over Arkansas State in Murfreesboro.

* The Blue Raiders are a collective +21 in turnover margin under Rick Stockstill.




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