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Golden Eagles welcome Indiana State Sycamores for first-ever meeting


Download or view Tennessee Tech vs. Indiana State game notes (PDF)

By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- After opening Ohio Valley Conference play last weekend, Tennessee Tech steps away from the league one final time during the 2013 regular season, welcoming Indiana State to Tucker Stadium Saturday for a 7 p.m. contest.

The night is Faith, Family & Youth Night, with a variety of specially priced ticket options available for groups and youth. It's also Family Weekend on the TTU Campus, so student families can also get special deals for the game.
  
The game will be the first-ever meeting in football between the two schools. Tech enters the night with a 2-2 overall record, including a 1-1 mark on Overall Field, following a 41-21 loss last Saturday to Tennessee State. Tech opened the year with a convinving 63-7 victory over Cumberland before falling at FBS No. 21 Wisconsin, 48-0, and rebounding with a 30-27 road win at Hampton.

The Sycamores come to town following an open date last weekend, and are 1-2 overall after posting a 70-7 victory over Quincy on Sept. 14. ISU opened the year with road losses at FBS foes Indiana and Purdue.
   
Known for its running game, especially the yardage of All-American Shakir Bell, the Sycamores have also become a potent passing team with Mike Perrish at quarterback. He was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) Offensive Player of the Week after setting school records in the win over Quincy. Perish was 23-of-26 passing for 379 yards with four passing touchdowns and one on the ground as the Sycamores went over 70 points for the first time since 1925 in their 70-7 victory over Quincy. Perish had 379 passing yards which are the fourth-most in a single-game in school history and was part of a school record 433 passing yards, topping a 2006 effort against Missouri State. Perish's completion percentage of 88.4 percent (23-of-26) is likewise a new school record.
  
While the Tech defense must prepare for a potent passing attack, the Golden Eagles also have to contend with Bell, even though he has missed the last two games. Bell enter Saturday's game with 3,907 rushing yards for his career which is third on the Sycamore all-time list. He needs just 429 yards on the ground during his senior campaign to become Indiana State's all-time leading rusher and eclipse the total of 4,335 yards set by Vincent Allen from 1973-77. His 3,907
career rushing yards ranks 10th all-time in the history of the Missouri Valley Football Conference and he needs 840 to top Herb Donaldson's record of 4,746 set from 2005-08 at Western Illinois. Additionally, with 93 more rushing yards, Bell will become just the ninth MVFC player all-time to rush for at least 4,000 career yards.

To put Bell's totals in perspective, only one player in Tech history has more career yardage (Larry Schreiber with 4,421). In fact, Tech's seven current runningbacks and two quarterbacks combined have 2,472 career yards.

The Golden Eagles are 6-14 all-time against teams currently in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Tech is 5-11 against Youngstown State (which used to be a member of the OVC), 1-1 against South Dakota, and 0-2 against Illinois State. Tech has not played a member of the MVFC since 1996, when first-year TTU coach Mike Hennigan's team dropped a 26-19 constest at Illinois State. The Sycamores are 49-58-4 all-time against current membership of the OVC.  ISU has not played an OVC foe since a 2009 game against Eastern Illinois.

For the third time in the first five games, the Golden Eagles face a coach who is in his first season at the school. Both Cumberland and Wisconsin featured first-year coaches, while Indiana State is under the direction of Mike Sanford in his first season at the helm.

Cody Forbes has been Tech's starter in the backfield the past two games, and currently leads Tech in rushing with 187 yards on 45 carries, an average of 4.2 per carry and 46.8 yards per game. He opened the year with a career-high 69 yards on eight carries against Cumberland, than raised that barrier against Hampton when he rushed for 73 yards on 19 carries (both career-high numbers). Forbes is the leading rusher among the runningbacks on Tech's 2013 roster with 431 career yards.

Tech's defense completely shut down the run against Hampton, limiting the Pirates to 55 total yards on the ground on 29 carries. Tech had nine tackles-for-loss for 26 yards. Against Tennessee State last week, bolstered by solid play from the defensive line, Tech held the Tigers to 95 rushing yards on 36 attempts with 7.5 tackles-for-loss. Those two games marked the 10th and 11th times under Watson Brown that Tech has held an opponent under 100 rushing yards, and the first since limiting Eastern Illinois to minus six rushing yards on Sept. 17, 2011.

Junior Tra'Darius Goff led Tech in total tackles in 2012 with 101, the first Tech tackler to top 100 since Corey Reed in 2008. Goff made a career-best 15 stops against Eastern Kentucky, 14 against UT Martin, and 12 against Eastern Illinois and Jacksonville State. He also had 10 stops against North Greenville, and last week chalked up 11 tackles, giving him six double-digit games. This season, he is second on the team with 27 tackles.

Senior Jordan Johnson recorded a career-high seven tackles against Tennessee State, including two tackles-for-loss. He is tops among Tech's defensive linemen with 17 tackles this season, and has 82 career stops. He is tops among all active players in career tackles-for-loss with 10.5.

Senior Malcolm Mitchell leads the team this season in both quarterback sacks (3.0) and tackles-for-loss (4.5). Mitchell is tops among active players with 4.5 quarterback sacks, and ranks second on the team in career tackles-for-loss with 7.5. 
   
Following the game, fans will be treated to a free concert by Judah and the Lion as part of Faith, Family, and Youth Night. For tickets, visit or call (931-372-3940) the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center.