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By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Throughout the seasons, the mere mention of the word "Homecoming" has meant something special on the Tennessee Tech campus. Alumni return to their alma mater, and the current student body spends the whole week looking forward to the football game.
That special day has arrived, as the Golden Eagles (3-5/0-4 OVC) host always-tough Jacksonville State (5-2/1-2 OVC) for the school's 83rd annual Homecoming game. Tech has posted an all-time record of 43-38-1 on Homecoming, but has lost the last three times to Eastern Kentucky, Murray State and Eastern Illinois.
The Gamecocks have been Tech's guest on Homecoming only once, coming to town in 2008 and claiming a 41-17 victory.
JSU owns a slim 10-6 edge in the all-time series with Tech, including an 8-4 mark since the Gamecocks joined the OVC in 2001.
Tech is coming off a 24-10 loss at Eastern Kentucky last Saturday, while JSU has had two weeks to prepare for this game following a 31-15 loss to Tennessee State on Oct. 12.
JSU ranks second in the OVC in total offense, rushing offense and passing offense, and is third in the league in scoring offense.
The visitors boast DaMarcus James at running back. He ranks fourth in the OVC in rushing and third in scoring. Quarterback Max Shortell is third in the league in passing and total offense.
The Tech defense, meanwhile, has a couple of marquee players. Safety Marty Jones leads the OVC in tackles while linebacker Tra'Darius Goff is third. Malcolm Mitchell is among league leaders in quarterback sacks and tackles-for-loss.
Offensively, junior Darian Stone is hoping to get back to action after missing last week's game due to a hand injury. Stone has shared playing time with redshirt freshman Jared Davis this season as the pair has tried to generate points with an offensive unit that has been hit hard with injuries.
Saturday's game also features the league's two best punters and two of the top three placekickers in the OVC.
In addition to Homecoming, it will also be Tech's annual Hall of Fame Game, as the Class of 2013 will be introduced. This year's class includes five former student-athletes who will be inducted Friday night at the Hall of Fame Dinner. They are Kylie Crouch (golf), Stephanie Dallmann (softball), Wes Gallagher (football), Lupita Hernandez York (tennis) and Damien Kinloch (basketball).
The 98.5 Kiss FM Tailgate Park opens at 10:30 a.m., and the Golden Eagle Walk will pass through the park at 11:15 a.m.
Tickets to the game and the dinner are available by visiting the Athletic Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling 931-372-3940. Tickets may also be purchased online at TTUsports.com.