Cunningham is Key

Cunningham is Key

Benny Cunningham wears number two, but should consider making that change to number one. Coming into the 2012 season, Cunningham is the undisputed lead back for Middle Tennessee, but the argument can be made he's more important to the offense as a whole than just being a bruising runner.

The Blue Raider coaching staff has made it very clear that their offense will be putting a bigger emphasis on the running game, regardless of who starts a quarterback this season. The added depth to the backfield with Junior, William Pratcher, getting solid experience last season, and the addition of Drayton Calhoun and Jeremiah Bryson who transferred from LSU and Pittsburgh respectively, will allow Cunningham to be a factor while not having to carry the entire load on his own.

Even though he could.

Cunningham only played in 7 of Middle's 12 games last season, but there is a direct correlation between Cunningham's presence on the field, and the numbers that quarterback, Logan Kilgore, was able to put up. In the first four games, Kilgore threw 12 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions, and was completing better than 60 percent of his passes. When Cunningham missed the next four games, starting with Western Kentucky, Kilgore's Touchdown-Intecption ratio turned to 1:1, and he only met his completion average for the first four games once in that stretch.

Coach Rick Stockstill reinforced this notion at the recent Sun Belt Media Day, pointing out that while the Blue Raiders are known for their passing attack, before Cunningham got injured last season, Middle led the conference in rushing yards per game.

All that said, Cunningham's worth is being recognized by the national media, after garnering a spot on the Doak Walker Award watch list, only one of three Sun Belt Conference players to do so.

In his final season as a Blue Raider, Cunningham should have ample opportunity to break out of his injury plagued career, and prove to the nation what the Blue Raider Nation already knows: @BCnumerodos, es numero uno.

Follow Kurt on twitter: @KurtKnowsBest.

Stay tuned to BlueRaiderZone.com for more exclusive coverage of the 2012 Middle Tennessee football team.

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