Golden Eagle firepower hoping to sink Pirate ship Saturday


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By Rob Schabert, TTU Assistant A.D. for Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Tech football squad heads to the Commonwealth of Virginia for only the third time in history Saturday, and the Golden Eagles are hoping they're wielding enough firepower to sink the Hampton Pirates.

Kickoff in HU's Armstrong Stadium is set for 5 p.m. CDT.

After playing an NAIA opponent in the opener (No. 25 Cumberland) and a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) foe last week (No. 21 Wisconsin), the Golden Eagles will play the first of 10 consecutive regular season games against teams in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

For the Pirates, the game with Tennessee Tech will be the home opener in Armstrong Stadium, following road contests at FCS opponents Western Illinois and William & Mary. The Pirates dropped a 42-9 contest at Western Illinois, suffereing nine turnovers. Last week, Hampton dropped a 31-7 decision in Williamsburg.

The Golden Eagles are currently 0-1 on the road in 2013, falling last week at No. 21 Wisconsin.

The game at Hampton will be only the third time the Golden Eagle football team has ventured into Virginia to play football. The only previous visits to the Old Dominion were for games at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and Liberty University. Under head coach Mike Hennigan, Tech played the VMI Keydets in Lexington, Va., on Sept. 18, 2004, and claimed a 16-10 victory.  The other visit was to Lynchburg, Va., where coach Jim Ragland’s Golden Eagles dropped a 24-20 contest on Sept. 10, 1988, to the Liberty Flames. Both previous games were afternoon contests.

Last year in the first meeting between Tech and Hampton, seniors Tre Lamb and Adam Urbano put on an offensive show as the Golden Eagles defeated the Pirates, 41-31, in the season opener in Tucker Stadium.

Lamb and Urbano led the Golden Eagle offensive juggernaut that put up 548 yards of total offense on 82 plays. The 548 yards were the second highest total of a Watson Brown-led team at Tech. Lamb completed 24 of 35 passes for 339 yards and tied a career-high with four passing touchdowns. His 339 yards were the second most of his career.
   
Urbano had the best game of his career, rushing for 158 yards and one score on 25 carries.

Zack Ziegler had a career-best two touchdown grabs in the game and added 43 yards. He scored the first points of the game, sneaking behind the defense for a 34-yard touchdown catch. His second touchdown, a nine-yard reception, came in the fourth quarter and ended a 17-point run by the Pirates.
   
Another receiver, sophomore Cody Matthews, had a career night for the Golden Eagles, hauling in three passes for a team-high 89 yards.

Sophomore kicker Zach Sharp chipped in two field goals in the game, one from 25 yards and one from 28 yards. He added 11 total points on the night.

It appeared that Tech was comfortably in charge with a 31-7 lead after Da'Rick Rogers grabbed a TD pass four seconds before halftime. However, the Pirates stormed back in the second half by scoring 17 consecutive points to trim Tech's advantage down to 31-24.

Jorrian Washington took the second half opening kickoff 10 yards for a touchdow, followed by a 40-yard field goal from Taurean Durham, making it 31-17. Five minutes later Jeremi Schwartz crossed the goalline from one yard out, making it 31-24 late in the third quarter.

Tech answered with a touchdown to Zeigler and a field goal for a 41-28 lead, before Javaris Brown hauled in a two-yard touchdown toss from quarterback Travis Champion with 2:16 to play for the game's final score.

Tech had a 209-89 advantage in rushing yards, and also outgained the Pirates 339-103 through the air. Tech had 548 yards of offense while Hampton finished with 192.

The Golden Eagle offense was flawless in the season opening 63-7 win over Cumberland, but was limited to 113 total yards last week by No. 21 Wisconsin.

Cody Forbes is Tech's leading rusher with 82 yards on 15 carries through two games. Darian Stone owns a 128.03 quarterback rating, going 16-for-30 for 212 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Krys Cates and Cody Matthews have four catches each to lead a deeo receiving corps.

Hampton is led on the ground by Antwon Chisholm with 48 yards on 26 carries. QuarterbackJaylian Williamson has a 137.0 QB rating, going 26-for-50 for 274 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.Rayshad Riddick is the top Pirate receiver with nine catches for 67 yards, while Chisholm and and Jorrian Washington have six catches each.