Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 2010 Review

2010 Record: 6-7 (5-3), 3rd Sun Belt
2010 Bowl Game: GoDaddy.Com Bowl, Lost to Miami (Ohio) 35-21
2010 Schedule/Results: Minnesota, L 24-17, Austin Peay, W 56-33, @ Memphis, L 24-17, @ UL-Lafayette, W 34-14, Troy, L 42-13, @ Georgia Tech, L 42-14, UL-Monroe, W 38-10, @ Arkansas State, L 51-24, North Texas, L 23-17, @ Western Kentucky, W 27-26, Florida Atlantic, W 38-14, @ FIU, W 28-27


     Looking for one of the biggest letdown teams in America? Look no further than the 2010 Blue Raiders. 2010 started out as a season of hope, a season where many people (myself most definately included) felt that the Raiders would turn a huge corner and become a non-AQ force. Dwight Dasher was an intriguing prospect at QB, a real game changer that could give oppsing DCs headaches for days in trying to prepare for him. It all went south just beofre the season when it was discovered that Dasher had taken an illegal loan from an old man in a nursing home and never paid it back. A complaint was filed with the authorities, and Dasher was subsequently suspended for a chunk of the season.
     When Dasher came back, he was garbage. He personified the word with every inch of his play. He was nothing like the electric game changer that he had been the season before, and he tossed 18 picks against just 6 TDs in 9 games. Dasher also only passed for 171 yards per game, which is not what people were expecting. The right thing should have been done, and Rick Stockstill should have stuck it out with Logan Kilgore, who was the man in Dasher's absence. Kilgore certainly had his own struggles on the season, but had some very promising moments as well, specifically in just falling short in trying to pick up a win over Minnesota. Kilgore had a turnover issue as well, however, as he only tossed 3 TDs to 5 picks, but his ratio and completion percentage were much better. Dasher did run alot, as he rolled up a total of 142-543-8.
     With Dasher out, RB Phillip Tanner became more of a focal point of the offense, and that was a good thing. Tanner rushed for 939 yards and a very solid 13 TDs in 2010. Tanner, a senior, really stood out when he was needed most, which is a trait of strong senior leadership on his part, as when times were tough, he tried to carry the team on his shoulders. DD Kyles (7-414-4) and Benjamin Cunningham (78-355-4) will have to try to carry the load in 2011.
     With the passing game mostly in shambles, the receiving corps took a huge hit in production in 2010. Only Garrett Andrews passed the 30 catch mark (34-377-2), while Malcolm Beyah led the team in yardage (388 yards). There was nothing to write home about, but out of the top 5 receivers, only Andrew is departing, giving Kilgore an experienced group to pass to as he takes over full time in 2011.
     The defense gave out rushing yards like bank tellers give candy to kids, in bushels. The Raiders gave up an ass kicking 191 yards rushing per game. They couldn't stop a herd of preschoolers from trampling them on their way to sloppy joes at lunch time.
     The leading tackler was a DB (Jeremy Kellem), and you know what I always say about that. If your DBs are leading your team in tackles, your front seven are not doing their jobs. Kellem was a busy guy, as he racked up 108 tackles on the season. The number two guy (LB Darin Davis) had 27 fewer tackles on the season, with 81.
     Jamari Lattimore and Jarrett Crittendon, both D linemen, did their best on the bog plays, as both hit double figures in TFLs. Lattimore rolled up 15 on the season, while Crittendon picked up 10.5. Davis came close to doubles with 9. The Raiders were fine on the big dynamic plays, but on the average play, they had tendencies to just disappear. Lattimore had 11.5 sacks in 2010, but the next best guy had 4.
     As a team, the Raiders defended 40 passes in 2010. Not bad. As individuals, nobody was individually great at knocking passes away. Kellem and Rod Isaac both had 6 on the season to lead the team. Isaac and Davis led the team with only 3 picks each.
     Alan Gendreau was as solid as can be at PK. Gendreau nailed 10 of his 12 FGs on the season. If you are going to get a low total of kicks all season, you shoujld plan on making most of them, something that he did very well. Josh Davis was very good at Punter, having averaged 42.67 yards per punt on the season. Nathaniel Toulson also punted, but he fell below a 40 yard average and is no threat to Davis.


I would been ready to name MTSU one of the best teams in America, and would have bet anything that Stockstill would have been poached away after 2010 before the season started. He had turned down better jobs to stay after 2009, and the Raiders had hype and promise. It all went south with Dasher, and what was supposed to be a coming out party turned into a severe nightmare. Hold no credibility with the Raiders making a bowl, a sit is only because there are just too many bowls to fill that they went anywhere. MTSU was probably one of the least deserving bowl teams in history. With may key components gone after 2010, 2011 has the potential to get ugly. All depends on the development of Kilgore to start, but there are many holes all over the place. It's going to be a bumpy ride in 2011.

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