October 13, 2009

Golden Eagles to take on nationally ranked Eastern Illinois on Saturday in Charleston

Weekly game notes (PDF)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Coming off back-to-back victories against in-state foes Austin Peay and UT Martin, the Tennessee Tech football team will take its game north this weekend when it travels to face No. 25 Eastern Illinois in an Ohio Valley Conference showdown on Oct. 17.

"It's a tough place to go play. Not many people have gone in there and won, it doesn't happen very often," Tennessee Tech head coach Watson Brown said. "We've got to play well, and get it the fourth quarter with a chance to win, that's the way we play, that's our style. The three games we've played in the league so far we've been right there at the end, and we've won two and lost one."

The Golden Eagles are 3-2 overall and 2-1 in OVC play, and are in a tie with EIU for third place in the conference standings.

"I don't look at the standings much, there's too far to go to be doing that," Brown said. "Coaches go from game-to-game, but at the same time I'd rather be 2-1 than 0-3."

Much of the Golden Eagles' success has come from taking care of the football. Tech is plus-three in turnover ratio this season, with four turnovers and seven takeaways.

"That is the stat in football," Brown said. "We all want to talk about yards, but turnovers is the number one stat in football. We haven't been very good at it in the past, and that's why we are where we are now. We're getting a few takeaways here and there, and were taking care of the ball. You've got to take care of the ball to have a chance to win. I hope our players are starting to realize that now."

Senior quarterback Lee Sweeney has continued to break the majority of Tech's career offensive records. He owns career records for most pass attempts, most completions, most passing yards, most touchdown passes, and most total offense, breaking all of those records in 2009.

"He's having a phenomenal year," Brown said. "We've done a good job of protecting him, and he's getting rid of the ball a lot earlier than he had in the past. He is staying healthy this year and staying on the field, and that's helping his consistency. He is doing two things very well this year, throwing the ball to the right place, and throwing the ball on time. He's got six games left in his career, and hopefully he can make the best of the last six."

The Golden Eagles enter the game having lost their last four to EIU. Tech's last win against the Panthers was a thrilling 40-37 overtime victory back in 2004. EIU is 4-2 this season, and 2-1 in the OVC. The Panthers are coming off a 52-3 loss to No. 12 Penn State of the FBS.

"They're a lot better than people thought, and coach Brown has his team playing good football," said EIU head coach Bob Spoo. "They've got some weapons, and they can hurt you. They're obviously good and we've to get ourselves ready."

Kickoff in Charleston will be at 1:30 p.m., and the game can be seen live on OVCsports.tv, produced by EIU.

Tech will return home on Oct. 24 to face Southeast Missouri. Kickoff for that game will be at 1:30. For ticket information contact the Tennessee Tech ticket office at 372-3940.