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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- If the Golden Eagles relish the role of spoiler, this weekend is the perfect recipe -- Tennessee Tech can wrap up the 2010 regular season by upsetting No. 4 Jacksonville State on Saturday and costing the Gamecocks the Ohio Valley Conference title.
It's quite a challenge for coach Watson Brown's team, which has lost two straight despite putting up its largest offensive numbers of the season including 554 yards last week against Eastern Kentucky, the most in Brown's four seasons in Cookeville.
A more pressing challenge for Tech is trying to fill holes in the lineup caused by a rash of late-season injuries. Of the 22 starting positions, Tech has enjoyed the same starter all season in just 12 spots and had to make adjustments at 10 positions.
The game against Jacksonville State, which is the OVC TV Game of the Week on Wazoo, will mark the final contest in the careers of 11 Golden Eagle seniors who will be recognized in pregame ceremonies.
Last week Tech dropped a 42-29 contest to Eastern Kentucky in Tucker Stadium, leaving the Golden Eagles with a 4-6 overall record and eliminating their chance at a winning mark in 2010.
Jacksonville State, meanwhile, pulled out a last-minute, 29-27 victory over Southeast Missouri. With that win, the Gamecocks put themselves into a position to clinch a share of the OVC title and the league's automatic invitation to the FCS playoffs by beating Tech.
Records in 2010:
Tennessee Tech is 4-6 overall / 3-4 Ohio Valley Conference
Jacksonville State is 9-1 overall / 6-1 Ohio Valley Conference
Series Record: JSU leads the series, 9-4
First Meeting: 1938
Last Meeting: JSU 55, Tech 28 (Nov. 14, 2009)
Current Streak: JSU has won last five
Golden Eagle Sports Network (Roger Ealey, Buddy Pearson and Brandon Goodwin)
also Free Teamline (Call 1-800-846-4675 - team code 0654)
Television: Wazoo Sports -- OVC Game of the Week
Live Stats: www.TTUsports.com
Last Game: Tech lost at E. Kentucky, 42-29; Jacksonville State beat SEMO, 29-27
Web Stream: OVCsports.TV
Tennessee Tech - www.TTUsports.com
Jacksonville State - www.jsugamecocksports.com
48 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE -- Tennessee Tech will bid farewell Saturday to 11 seniors on the 2010 roster. who represent a combined 48 years on the Golden Eagle roster. Seven of the 11 are fifth-year seniors and two more are in their fourth season as Golden Eagles. Tech's 2010 seniors (years on TTU roster):
* Receiver Colin Allen (5)
* Quarterback Cass Barnes (4)
* Runningback Jocques Crawford (2)
* Rover Dustin Dillehay (5)
* Defensive tackle Justin Hilliard (5)
* Punter Jason Lennartz (3)
* Cornerback Corbin Miles (5)
* Defensive tackle Dedrick Miley (5)
* Linebacker Kelechi Ordu (5)
* Receiver Henry Sailes (4)
* Defensive end Charlie Seivers (5)
FIVE ARE CAPTAINS -- For the second year, the team has elected captains prior to the season. The Golden Eagles have chosen four defensive players and one from the offense, all seniors. The team captains are DT Dedrick Miley, ROV Dustin Dillehay, LB Kelechi Ordu, DE Charlie Seivers and RB Henry Sailes.
BARNES STORMING -- Senior quarterback Cass Barnes has started the last two games in place of injured Tre Lamb, and last week against Eastern Kentucky he accounted for a season-high 341 yards of total offense. Barnes rushed 16 times for 68 yards and passed for a career-high 273 yards, going 18-for-30 without an interception. In fact, he caught one of his own passes (a ball that was batted back to him) and ran it two yards for a first down. He was the first Tech quarterback to catch his own pass since Andre Caballero, and the third to do so since 1982 (Mark Powers). Barnes has topped the 200-yard mark in passing in each of his two starts this season, throwing for 203 yards at Murray State.
SCHOOL RECORD -- Tim Benford has tied the school's single-season record with 10 touchdown catches in 2010. The mark was first set in 2002 by Derek Lee and tied in 2007 by Larry Shipp. Benford also tied the record in 2008 with 10 touchdown catches.
CHART CLIMBING -- Tim Benford is now fourth in school history in both receptions (143) and receiving yards (2,060). He needs 65 yards to catch Walter Hill in third place for career yardage. He could climb as high as second in receptions before his junior season is complete, needing three to tie for third place and five more receptions to catch Walter Hill (148) in second place.
1,000 YARD SPOT -- Junior Dontey Gay and senior Jocques Crawford have split time at the "B" runningback position and have combined to hit the 1,000-yard mark -- EXACTLY. Crawford has 571 rushing yards and Gay has rushed for 429 yards, making it 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns on 167 attempts. Combined they would rank second in the OVC in rushing yards (1,000), third in yards per game (100.0) and third in yards per carry (6.0).
STRETCHING OUT -- Senior Colin Allen stretched out to make one of the most amazing catches of the season last week against Eastern Kentucky, hauling in a pass from Cass Barnes for 34 yards. He had three catches for 77 yards in the game. This season, Allen ranks third on the team with 13 receptions, and is second on the team in receiving yards with 230. In fact, among Tech receivers with more than one catch this year, Allen ranks first on the team in yards per catch with 17.7. For his Tech career, Allen has 51 catches for 883 yards.
CENTURY MARK -- Senior Jocques Crawford posted his second 100-yard rushing game of the season when he gained 128 yards on just 11 carries last week against Eastern Kentucky, average of 11.6 yards per carry. His effort included a 59-yard romp, the team's longest rush of the year. Crawford rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries in Tech's win over Eastern Illinois. He leads Tech with 571 rushing yards in 104 carries, a season average of 57.1 yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry.
CAREER LEADERS - Seven Golden Eagle defenders have topped 100 in career tackles and more players have 90 or more stops. Seniors Kelechi Ordu (175) and Dustin Dillehay (174) are the career leaders in tackles, with junior Jake McIntosh (162) just behind.
Active Player (yr) Tackles GP
Kelechi Ordu (Sr.) 175 38
Dustin Dillehay (Sr.) 174 43
Jake McIntosh (Jr.) 162 29
Richmond Tooley (Jr.) 135 32
Marty Jones (So.) 121 21
Caleb Mitchell (So.) 102 19
Justin Hilliard (Sr.) 102 40
Corbin Miles (Sr.) 97 41
Dedrick Miley (Sr.) 95 41
Dwight Evans (Jr.) 94 31
Charlie Seivers (Sr.) 90 39
Justin Vann (Jr.) 85 28
Travis Adkins (Jr.) 63 31
Kedrick Towles (So.) 40 18
LaDarrius Verge (So.) 34 19
Jerry King (So.) 26 9
Mauricio Wallace (Jr.) 22 26
LEAGUE LEADER -- Sophomore Marcus Edwards leads the OVC and ranks third in the nation with 8.5 quarterback sacks. The school single-season record is 10 sacks. He ranks 13th nationally in sacks.
TACKLE CHARTS -- Four Golden Eagles rank among the Top 20 in the OVC in tackles per game. Marty Jones has 78 tackles and 8.7 per game to rank second in the OVC while Kelechi Ordu is fourth with 75 tackles and 8.3 per game. Dustin Dillehay has 6.8 tackles per game to rank 13th, while Jake McIntosh ranks 20th with 6.0 per game.
CAREER EFFORT - Senior Justin Hilliard made a career-best nine tackles last week against Eastern Kentucky. His previous career-best was five stops at Western Michigan in 2008. Hilliard ranks first among Tech's defensive linemen with 37 tackles this season.
TACKLES FOR LOSS -- Justin Hilliard has 4.5 tackles-for-loss this season, giving him 18 for his career which is tops among all active players. Dwight Evans had two TFL against EKU and ranks second on the team with 16.5 career tackles-for-loss. Evans has 10.0 this season to rank first on the team and eighth in the OVC. Marcus Edwards is second on the team this season with 8.5 TFL, giving him 10.0 in his career. Jamere Hogue ranks third this season with 5.0 TFL, followed by Kelechi Ordu and Hilliard with 4.5 each.