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With seven days to go until the pigskin (officially) flies through the air for the first time, we'll be previewing all 10 TTU opponents here on TTUsports.com.
Countdown to season opener: 7 days
Who: Jacksonville State University Gamecocks
What: Game 7, OVC Game 5 (JSU Homecoming)
When: Saturday, Oct. 29, 3 p.m.
Where: Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium, Jacksonville, Ala.
Tennessee Tech will travel to the harsh confines of Jacksonville, Ala., for a road game with Ohio Valley Conference rival Jacksonville State. After the Golden Eagles kept JSU from winning the OVC Championship a year ago, look for the Gamecocks to seek revenge. JSU leads the all-time series 9-5, but fell to Tech 35-24 in their final regular season game last year. After starting the season 8-0, the Gamecocks finished 2010 with a record of 9-3, including a home loss to Wofford in the FCS playoffs. JSU has been picked to win the OVC title in 2011, and is ranked ninth in the FCS preseason poll.
Jacksonville State looks to run behind Washaun Ealey, who played two years at the University of Georgia before transferring to JSU. Ealey ran for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2010 for the Bulldogs. The Gamecocks also return running back Calvin Middleton, who rushed for 534 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Senior quarterback Marques Ivory and sophomore Coty Blanchard give JSU plenty of leadership at the signal-caller spot.
The Jacksonville State defense returns several players from its stingy season a year ago. The Gamecocks allowed just 58 percent of its passes and gave up only 12 touchdown passes. Defensive lineman Monte Lewis was selected as the OVC Preseason co-Defensive Player of the Year, one of five Gamecocks on the preseason all-OVC team.
The Gamecocks look to jump out to an early lead in order to take the wind out of the sails of their opponents. JSU outscored its opponents 200-128 in the first half of games last year and racked up 142 points in the second quarter alone.