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November 21, 2008

The bulletin board: NT at MT

Middle Tennessee's former nemesis arrives in Murfreesboro for the first time since 2005 when North Texas comes calling for Senior Day at Floyd Stadium.

The Mean Green knocked off the Blue Raiders five straight times before the arrival of Rick Stockstill. Since then, MT has taken two straight in the series.

Today, we bring you the pregame GoMiddle.com Bulletin Board, an exclusive feature compiling all the quotes, notes and facts you need to know to make you the most knowledgeable fan for the Blue Raiders' upcoming matchup with the Mean Green.


at
Saturday, November 22nd, 2:30
Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro (Tenn.)


Key Stats

* Middle Tennessee has not committed a turnover against North Texas under Rick Stockstill.

* MT has not won its final regular season home game since 2004.

* North Texas ranks 106th or worse nationally in all five major team defensive statistical categories.

* MT has scored 15 times in its last 17 red zone trips.

* In conference games only, MT's offense ranks last in the Sun Belt in total offense. NT's defense ranks last in conference games in total defense.

* In all 10 of NT's games this season, opponents have averaged at least 5.5 yards on each first down play. Three times, opponents have averaged more than eight yards on first down plays.

* NT has one touchdown drive this season of more than 50 yards in five or less plays. The Mean Green have allowed 21 such drives to opponents.

The Series

* Middle Tennessee and North Texas will meet for the eighth time in history Saturday with the Mean Green currently holding a 5-2 all time advantage.

* This will be fourth meeting between the two schools in Murfreesboro, where North Texas has won all three prior meetings.

* The two teams played first in 2001, with North Texas claiming a 24-21 victory in Denton that ended up being the difference in a New Orleans Bowl berth in the first season of Sun Belt football.

* The last meeting in Murfreesboro came in 2005, when North Texas won 14-7.

* MT has won each of the last two meetings. The Blue Raiders won 35-0 at North Texas in 2006 and 48-28 in Denton last year.

Connections

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

RB Phillip Tanner (Dallas)
DE Wes Hofacker (Allen)

* The North Texas roster does not contain any players from the state of Tennessee.


Quotes

* Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill in his weekly press conference on celebrating Senior Day for nine Blue Raider scholarship seniors playing their final game at Floyd Stadium:

"The pregame show won't last as long with nine guys out there. I will not make a big deal about "Senior Day." We will play the game like any other game. I am appreciative of all nine of those guys and the three walk-ons and what they have accomplished. We are not going to talk a lot about it. They know it is their last home game and we don't need to remind them of that every day. They are good, hard-working kids, and they are committed to the program. They have made a difference here and I appreciate everything they have done for Middle Tennessee."


* Stockstill on whether or not the Blue Raiders can rely on the pass exclusively to beat North Texas:

"I don't think so. I think that the teams who have been successful throwing the ball against North Texas have also been successful running the ball. Teams that have thrown the ball for a lot of yardage against them also have had good running games. I don't think we can throw the ball every down to win this game. We have to be able to run the ball well and have balance."


* Middle Tennessee linebacker Danny Carmichael on the recent schematic changes on defense that have led to more pressure on opponents:

"At WKU the plan was to get after them from the get-go. We had more blitzes in this week. We felt like if we could pressure the quarterback he would make some bad throws and made some bad decisions, and he did. We played with three down linemen the past two or three games. That gives you a chance for more blitzes and we have been more active."


* North Texas head coach Todd Dodge to the Daily News Journal on Middle Tennessee's aggressive defense that relies a lot on man coverage in the secondary:

"When you watch them play defense, you can tell what their first day of spring practice is like. From day one, it looks like they teach them to get into people's faces, play man-coverage and get on top of people. They can do it because they're good at it."


Did You Know?

* MT has not trailed since the fourth quarter of the Mississippi State, a span of eight quarters.

* NT last gave up less than 35 points on November 24, 2007, a span of 11 games.

* Alan Gendreau's nine made field goals are the most in a season at Middle Tennessee since Colby Smith hit 15 in 2004.

* Patrick Honeycutt needs 10 more catches to equal the 10th most in a single season.

* A win over NT would give the Blue Raiders the outright overall lead in Sun Belt Conference victories since Sun Belt football began in 2001. Currently, both programs have 30 all time league wins.

* Of the 102 players on NT's roster, 92 are from Texas.

* NT receiver Casey Fitzgerald leads the nation with an average of nice receptions per game.



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