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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech is looking to win its third in a row over Jacksonville State Saturday night in Tucker Stadium when the Gamecocks visit for a crucial Ohio Valley Conference game. Two of the teams that shared the OVC title a year ago, both Tech and JSU have already suffered league losses in 2012 and are trying to stay in the race.
A host of freshmen are already being thrust into key roles for the Golden Eagles.
JSU comes in with a 1-1 OVC record following a loss at Eastern Kentucky and a home win over Southeast Missouri. The Golden Eagles, meanwhile, are off to an 0-2 league start with
road losses at Southeast Missouri and Murray State.
The Golden Eagles are piecing together a lineup that has been devastated by injuries through the first five weeks. Last week, runningbacks Bud Golden and Adam Urbano were available at the same time for the first game since the opener, but Tremaine Hudson was lost. Linebacker Matt Moran also saw his first action of the season.
Those players helped ease Tech's troubles somewhat, but the coaching staff is still looking to patch up some holes, especially in the secondary where starter Marty Jones is one of five players lost for the year. Another starter, Austin Tallant, is questionable for Saturday's game. True freshmen Jimmy Laughlin (strong safety) and William Dillard (cornerback) fill two of the four starting spots in the secondary.
The Tech offense continues to put up big numbers behind quarterback Tre Lamb, who is ranked among league leaders in nearly every passing and total offense category. JSU brings a typical Gamecock team to town, with a balanced offense that combines a powerful running game with a passing game that's extremely effective. The JSU running game is led by DeMarcus James, Troymaine Pope and Washaun Ealey, while quarterback Marques Ivory has found 11 different receivers, topped by Alan Bonner.
The JSU defense has 10 different players who've reached double digits in tackles.
Saturday's game features two special events -- it's Family Weekend on campus, and Football Legends Night at the game. All former Golden Eagle football players are invited back for the game and to be recognized.
For ticket information, please call or visit the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931-372-3940).
Jacksonville State Gamecocks (2-2, 1-1 OVC)
at Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (2-3, 0-2 OVC)
Saturday, Oct. 6 • 7:00 p.m. CT
Tucker Stadium (16,500) • Cookeville, Tenn.
TV:........................................ WCTE/OVC Digital Network
Live Stats: http://livestats.prestosports.com/ttusports/fball
Series Record:....................... Jacksonville State leads 9-6
Last Meeting:........... Tennessee Tech won 21-14 (10/29/11)
Jack Crowe at Jacksonville State:.............. 83-54 (13 yrs.)
Jack Crowe Overall:.................................... 97-84 (18 yrs.)
Watson Brown at Tennessee Tech:................ 27-34 (6 yrs.)
Watson Brown Overall:......................... 121-185-1 (28 yrs.)
Jacksonville State Last Week: W, 31-16 vs. Southeast Missouri
Tennessee Tech Last Week:.......... L, 70-35 at Murray State
GAME NOTES: Two of the three teams who tied for the OVC Championship a season ago will meet in Cookeville on Saturday. Jacksonville State leads the all-time series 9-6 but Tennessee Tech has won each of the last two years, costing the Gamecocks a share of the OVC Championship in 2010 and an outright title in 2011. Last year TTU entered the contest ranked 19th nationally and topped the 13th ranked JSU team on its home field 21-14. Dontey Gay rushed for 95 yards and a score for Tech while Calvin Middleton (69 yards) and Washaun Ealey (68 yards) led the JSU rushing attack. Jax State was driving for a potential game-tying score, but a fumble at the TTU 28-yard line with 1:25 to play ended the game. Saturday’s contest is the first home game for TTU since Sept. 6 (the team has played its last three games on the road).
SCOUTING JACKSONVILLE STATE: Jacksonville State rebounded from its loss at Eastern Kentucky by topping Southeast Missouri 31-16 to improve to 1-1 in OVC play. It marked the first time this season JSU had scored 30 or more points in a game. The Gamecocks led just 17-16 early in the fourth quarter before scoring the final 14 points of the game, on a 20-yard touchdown catch by Alan Bonner and an 8-yard touchdown run by DaMarcus James in front of 16,842 fans. James finished the day with 149 yards on 21 carries (7.1 ypc) and two touchdowns; it marked his second 100-plus yard game of the season. Quarterback Marques Ivory was efficient, completing 14-of-18 passes for 161 yards and two scores. Ivory has thrown at least one touchdown pass in three of four games this season and ranks fifth on the JSU career passing touchdown list (30). Bonner finished the day with seven catches for 92 yards and the fourth quarter touchdown. Pierre Warren and Caleb Lawrence each had nine tackles to lead the Gamecock defense. That defense held the Redhawks to just 56 yards passing.
SCOUTING TENNESSEE TECH: Tennessee Tech fell behind 35-7 to a hot Murray State team on Saturday and ended up on the short end of a 70-35 decision on Saturday night in Murray. Freshman Ladarius Vanlier was named National Specialist of the Week by the Sports Network after registering 291 all-purpose yards (the fourth-most in TTU history and seventh-most in the FCS this year) and setting an OVC record with 11 kickoff returns. Vanlier returned those 11 kickoffs (which was just one off the NCAA record) for 237 yards (13 yards shy of the OVC record) including a 94-yard touchdown in the second quarter. The 94-yard touchdown was the sixth-longest in school history and ninth-longest in the FCS this year. Tre Lamb threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns, moving him into third place in TTU history for career passing yards (4,847). Lamb currently ranks seventh nationally in passing efficiency (159.63) and eighth nationally in each passing yards/game (283.6) and points responsible for (16.8). Cody Matthews caught three passes for 119 yards and a touchdown; it marked his first career 100-yard receiving game.