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Defense shines during 2014 MTSU Spring Game

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The MTSU football team finished up spring practice with the annual Blue-White Spring Game on April 19 at the Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium.

The game was held at the location because Floyd Stadium was having new field turf installed inside the football field. It was a offense versus defense showdown, the defense winning 44-27.

“I thought offensively and defensively we made improvement, both individually and collectively, as a team,” MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill said after the game.  “I was pleased with it and we got out of here healthy and that was the main objective today.”

The offense wore blue jerseys, while the defense wore white jerseys. Some of the different scoring rules included the defense earning four points for each turnover caused during the game. They also got seven points added to their score before each quarter. The offense scoring rules were the same as usual like a normal game.

With the White (defense) team leading 7-0 in the first quarter, sophomore Cody Clark nailed a 29-yard field goal with 5:07 left in the first quarter to put the Blue (offense) on the board. The White team added four points when freshman cornerback Shon Adkins picked off a pass by freshman quarterback Brent Stockstill later in the first quarter to put the white team ahead 11-3 after one quarter.

The White received seven points to start the second quarter to make the score 18-3. The Blue team scored its first touchdown of the game when sophomore quarterback Austin Grammer found sophomore wide receiver Terry Pettis wide open for a 49-yard touchdown pass to make the score 18-10 with 7:47 left in the second half.

‘When he first threw it I saw the corner drop down and safety roll over, so I knew it was going to be open,” Pettis said. “I just had to make the catch and Austin threw a good ball.”

Senior cornerback Chris Sharpe picked off another pass thrown by Stockstill with 6:58 left in the first half to make the score 22-10 at the half.

The timing rules during the Spring Game were also a little different than usual. The first two quarters were eight minutes long and included the normal stoppage in play. However, the last two quarters were 12 minutes apiece with a running clock. The White team received seven more points to begin the third quarter to make it 29-10.

Freshman running back Jordan Willis punched it in from one yard out for the Blue team with 7:07 left in the third and made the score 29-17. Sophomore kicker Canon Rooker added a 24-yard field goal for the Blue team to make the score 29-20 after three quarters.

Each of the three quarterbacks battling for the MTSU starting job ‑‑ Stockstill, Grammer and freshman A.J. Erdely ‑‑ had four possessions each under center during the first three quarters of the game. Grammer finished 8-for-11 for 125 yards with a touchdown, Erdely was 8-for-16 for 85 yards, and Stockstill was also 8-for-16 for 54 yards and two interceptions.

“I still think it's neck and neck with those other two guys,” Grammer said. “They're great quarterbacks and we'll have a tough battle all the way through the summer and fall camp competing just like we have been all spring.”

Junior Nolan Genovese played the entire fourth quarter under center with the White team earning seven more points to make the score 36-20. Sophomore cornerback Alex Dale recovered a fumble to earn four more points, and Adkins picked off his second interception of the game to end the scoring for the Blue team. The White team got a touchdown from sophomore running back Chukwadi Echetebu to make the final score 44-27.

 

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Austin Grammer, Blue Raiders, football, MTSU, Rick Stockstill, Spring Game
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April 20, 2014 at 1:52pm
This is a great win for the defense. As the saying goes, defense wins football games. I was pleased with what I saw both offensively and defensively. They made improvements both individually and collectively as a team. However, there’s still work that needs improvement before the Blue Raiders open the season against the Savannah State Tigers from the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium on Thursday, August 30, 2014. One of them is taking of the ball on offense. In 2013, the Blue Raiders had 21 turnovers in 12 games. The Blue Raiders had 7 seven games where they committed multiple turnovers in one game. That’s not going to get it done against anybody at any given time. Let’s not forget that the defense has to continue to do what they do. That includes forcing turnovers. Last year, the Blue Raiders were ranked T-5th in forced turnovers with 33 (18 fumble recoveries and 15 interceptions). As long as those two things take place throughout the season, they will be competing in the 2014 Conference USA Championship Game as the East Division champions. Who knows, maybe the game will be in Murfreesboro, Tennessee depending on how the West Division finishes out this year.
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