By Connor Grott
Assistant Sports Editor
Middle Tennessee hosted its annual Blue and White spring scrimmage at Dean A. Hayes Stadium on Saturday afternoon, showcasing the Blue Raiders’ upcoming team for the fast-approaching 2014-15 football season.
Although the outcome means little in a game such as this, the White team (defense) defeated the Blue Team (offense) by a final score of 44-27 in front of 2,300 Blue Raider fans. With the victory, the white team is now 7-2 all-time in the Blue and White spring game under MT head coach Rick Stockstill.
The White team, which was composed of the defensive members of the Blue Raiders, forced four turnovers in the contest. Shon Akins proved to have a decent outing in the scrimmage, posting five tackles and two interceptions. Chris Sharpe added three tackles and an interception.
Anfornee Stewart, Cavellis Luckett and Sharpe each forced a fumble, with Alex Dale making the lone recovery for the White squad.
For the Blue team, the offense proved inefficient at times by stalling in the red zone and turning the ball over, and provided no clearer picture on the ongoing quarterback battle to fill the void left by the graduation of Logan Kilgore.
Austin Grammer led the first-team offense, finishing 8-of-11 with 125 yards and one touchdown, coming off a 49-yard touchdown to wide out Terry Pettis. Pettis finished the day with two grabs for a team-high 74 yards.
Brent Stockstill came out with the second offensive unit, completing 8-of-16 passes for 54 yards and two interceptions. A.J. Erdely went 8-of-16 for 85 yards in the contest, and Nolan Genovese finished 8-of-15 with 88 yards and one interception.
“I was really pleased with all three of them,” Stockstill said in a statement to the MT Athletic Communications Department. “I think we can win with all three of them. They all got better throughout the spring. We’ll just go through the summer and then in August, I’ll make a decision before the Savannah State game.”
In the running game, Tony Rowland led the way with 114 yards on 23 carries. Jordan Willis added nine carries for 50 yards and one touchdown, and Chukwadi Echetebu finished with nine carries for 30 yards and a touchdown.
The status of the Middle Tennessee backfield remains one of the biggest question marks after the conclusion of spring practices, given the injuries suffered towards the end of last season.
The main options in last season’s rushing attack did not take the field throughout spring practices. Jordan Parker and Reggie Whatley are still recovering from torn hip labrums suffered last season. Jeremiah Bryson and Shane Tucker remain on the sidelines as well, recuperating from torn shoulder labrums.
With the conclusion of the Blue and White spring game, the Blue Raiders have reached the end of the 2014 spring season. Middle Tennessee will resume activities on Aug. 3, the first day of summer camp, in preparation for their season opener against Savannah State on August 30.
2014 SPRING PRACTICE AWARDS
Terry Whiteside Award (Excellence in academics, football, strength training, community service, and campus activities): Reggie Whatley
Dr. Sidney A. McPhee Senior Academic Award: Leighton Gasque
Dr. James E. Walker Junior Academic Award: Jordan Frost-Dixon
Dr. Don Craig Sophomore Academic Award: Josh Chester
Jeanne Massaquoi Freshman Academic Award: Lucas Hamilton
Most Improved Quarterback: Nolan Genovese
Most Improved Running Back: Kamani Thomas
Most Improved Wide Receiver: Demetrius Frazier
Most Improved Offensive Line: Adam Stickel
Most Improved Defensive Line: Shaquille Huff
Most Improved Linebacker: Anfornee Stewart
Most Improved Safety: Chris Brown
Most Improved Corner: Mike Minter
Most Improved Strength Training Quarterback: A.J. Erdely
Most Improved Strength Training Running Back: Kamani Thomas
Most Improved Strength Training Wide Receiver: Shannon Smith
Most Improved Strength Training Offensive Line: Josh Chester
Most Improved Strength Training Defensive Line: Jimal McBride
Most Improved Strength Training Linebacker: James Roberson
Most Improved Strength Training Safety: Xavier Walker
Most Improved Strength Training Corner: Jared Singletary
Most Improved Strength Training Specialist: Canon Rooker