Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky will continue their nearly century-old football rivalry in Murfreesboro on Homecoming weekend, Saturday, Oct. 15. However, another rivalry between the two Conference USA schools will also share the spotlight that week.
The Blue Raiders and the Hilltoppers have played each other in football 65 times, with MT holding a slight 34-30-1 edge. But the two schools will go head-to-head for the sixth time in a competitive blood drive for the American Red Cross.
Middle Tennessee won the inaugural drive, the brainchild of Blue Raider Director of Athletics Chris Massaro, in 2010 and also took the title in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
Diane Turnham, senior associate director of athletics for the Blue Raiders, Dr. Gloria Bonner, assistant to the president for community engagement and Ray Wiley, associate director of campus recreation, will spearhead the drive locally. And while they all know that the competitive drive between the two schools is intense, they say the real winner is the Red Cross and our respective communities.
“Giving back, that’s what it is all about,” Turnham pointed out. “While it is always great to compete against Western on the field, it is also very rewarding to help others. Each donation can save up to three lives.”
The blood drive will be held on both campuses prior to the football game. The Middle Tennessee drive will be held on Oct. 3-5 in the Gym and Basketball Courts, and limited parking will be reserved for blood donors. WKU’s drive will occur the week after, on Oct. 10-12 due to fall break.
Turnham also noted that donation appointments can be made online to avoid waiting. Middle Tennessee supporters can visit www.redcrossblood.org/MTSU for the details and can use sponsor code mtsu19. A new special feature this year will allow donors to speed up the process by answering preliminary questions while waiting to donate. Participants can also download the new Blood Donor App to learn more.
Also new this year, the blood drive will be open for donations all three days from 10am to 6pm.
The drive is open to all Middle Tennessee students, administrators, faculty, staff and alumni. Turnham also invited everyone in Murfreesboro and surrounding communities to come give blood.
“It is a competition that almost everyone can get involved in, and we hope they will,” she said. “The Murfreesboro Red Cross has relayed to us that they are significantly behind their summer totals due to the continued construction around their facility. We need everyone on campus and in our community to step up and be TRUE Blue to beat WKU for our community.”
The winner will be announced at the MT-WKU football game on Oct. 15. Kickoff for the game is slated for 1:30pm with the matchup slated to be on ESPN3.