GAMEDAY CENTRAL: Golden Eagles host first home game with visit from Mercer Bears

GAMEDAY CENTRAL:  Golden Eagles host first home game with visit from Mercer Bears
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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech will finally feel at home Saturday night because the Golden Eagle football team will actually be at home. Following two road contests to kick off the 2015 schedule, Tech hosts Mercer in Tucker Stadium at 6 p.m. in a game loaded with special promotional activitie.

Tech gave up a stretch of 34 unanswered points in a 34-14 loss at Wofford last week, the first of two consecutive games against opponents from the Southern Conference. Mercer, meanwhile, ran off a string of 34 unanswered points on the way to a 57-14 victory over Stetson in the Bears' home opener in Macon, Ga.

It's the first meeting between the two football teams, as Mercer is only in it's third season on the gridiron.

The weather looks promising for a perfect day of football
Saturday in Cookeville. The afternoon high is projected at
86 degrees with no rain in the forecast. The evening prediction
has temps in the lower 60s, with a few clouds, and a 10 percent
chance of rain. Winds will be light and variable. All-in-all, could
be a remarkable night in Tucker Stadium.

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (0-2, 0-0 OVC)
at Mercer Bears (2-0, 0-0 SoCon)
Saturday, Sept. 19 • 6 p.m. CT
Tucker Stadium (16,500) in Cookeville, Tenn.

TV/Webstream: WCTE TV (Sam Brooks, Tim Scruggs)
OVC Digital Network (free)
Radio: Golden Eagle Sports Network (98.5 Kiss FM)  
    Roger Ealey (play-by-play)
    Buddy Pearson (analyst)
    Dylan Vazzano (sidelines)
Series Record: First meeting
Last Meeting: -----
Bobby Lamb at Mercer:        18-8 (3rd year)
Bobby Lamb Overall:  85-48 (12 yrs. (13th year)
Watson Brown at Tennessee Tech: 38-55 (9th year)
Watson Brown Overall: 132-206-1 (31st year)
Tennessee Tech Last Game: Lost 34-14 at Wofford, Sept. 12, 2015
Mercer Last Game: Won, 57-14 over Stetson, Sept. 12, 2015     

* Ladarius Vanlier has established a new school record for most career kickoff return yards. He broke the record with 84 yards at Houston, and added a 41-yard return at Wofford. He now has 2,000. That topped the mark of 1,875 by Larry Shipp. Vanlier is 97 yards from the career record for punt return yards (currently 644 by James Robinson/Vanlier has 547).
* Ladarius Vanlier ranks third in career all-purpose yards and needs 72 to pass Michael Penix and climb to third all-time. He has 3,984.
* Mercer is 11-0 in non-conference games under head coach Bobby Lamb.
* Last week’s games for Tech and Mercer each featured a stretch of 34 unanswered points. Mercer tallied 34 against Stetson while Tech allowed 34 at Wofford.

MORE SoCON: The game is Tech’s second in a row against a Southern Conference opponent, coming on the heels of the contest last week at Wofford.

BROCK AGAIN: Sophomore receiver Brock McCoin was the standout on offense last week at Wofford, making 11 catches for 99 yards. He ranks first in the OVC in receieving yards per game and second in receptions per game.

DEFENSIVE NUMBERS: Three Golden Eagle defenders reached double figures in tackles at Wofford, led by Tra’Darius Goff with 14. Bill Dillard added 11 and Jordan Patrick finished with a career-high 10 stops.

THE SERIES: Tennessee Tech and Mercer will meet for the first time on the gridiron.

A FAMILIAR FACE OVER THERE: Former Golden Eagle quarterback Tre Lamb, who led the Tech to the 2011 Ohio Valley Conference title while setting several school records, is the quarterbacks coach for Mercer.

ON HOME TURF: Following two road games to start the season, the Golden Eagles play at home for the first time in 2015. Tech hosts five home games.

THE TTU SENIOR CLASS — The 2015 senior class includes 16 players who are playing in their final season for the Golden Eagles. The seniors, in alphabetical order, are: Radir Annoor, Stephen Bush, Willie Davis, Brett Dillard, Demario Donnell, Tra'Darius Goff, Justin Ivory, Jimmy Laughlin, Steven Lillard, Jibrin Linge, Blake Luevano, Daniel Pierce, Jay Rudwall, Josh Smith, Ladarius Vanlier and Steve Wilson.

Fans who cannot attend in person can listen to the game on the Golden Eagle Sports Network with Roger Ealey and Buddy Pearson in the press box and Dylan Vazzano reporting from the sidelines. The broadcast begins at 5:30 p.m. CT on 98.5 KISS FM.

GAME NOTES: Saturday marks the first-ever meeting between Mercer and Tennessee Tech. This year is just the third of football for the Mercer program after not having a program since 1941. This week marks the first home game of the season for Tennessee Tech who played back-to-back road games to start the 2015 season. It is also the second-straight game against a Southern Conference opponent for the Golden Eagles. Mercer is now 11-0 all-time in non-conference games under third-year head coach Bobby Lamb.
SCOUTING TENNESSEE TECH: Tennessee Tech suffered a road loss to Wofford, its first FCS opponent of the season, on Saturday in Spartanburg. Tennessee Tech scored the first points of the game before Wofford scored 34 unanswered points on its way to the victory. Wofford finished the game with 560 yards of total offense (444 on the ground) while Tennessee Tech had 274 yards of offense. After his record setting receiving performance last week, Brock McCoin snagged 11 passes for 99 yards against the Terriers. McCoin currently ranks third nationally in each receptions/game (11.0), receiving yards/game (181.5) and total receiving yards (363). His 264 receiving yards in week one are the most by a Division I players (FBS or FCS) this season. Quarterback Jared Davis accounted for both touchdowns with his feet, carrying the ball 11 times for 27 total yards; he also passed for 163 yards. Ladarius Vanlier led the rushing attack with 80 yards on 10 carries and also had a 41-yard kickoff return. Defensively redshirt senior Tra'Darius Goff had a game-high 14 tackles and recovered a fumble. After returning from an injury he suffered last season, Goff is averaging 9.5 tackles/game this year. Bill Dillard added 11 tackles against Wofford while Jordan Patrick made a career-high 10 stops. As a team Tennessee Tech is first nationally in fewest fumbles lost (0), third in fumbles recovered (4), fourth in fewest penalties/game (3.5), fifth in fewest yards penalized/game (26.0) and seventh in net punting (41.38)..
SCOUTING MERCER: Mercer will be playing its second OVC opponent of the season after opening the year with a victory at Austin Peay. The team was 10-2 in 2013 and 6-6 a season ago while returning 10 offensive and all 11 defensive starters for this year. This past week the Bears scored 34 points in the second quarter to lead Stetson 51-7 at the half on its way to a 57-14 victory. Mercer netted a program record 623 yards of total offense as quarterback John Russ threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns and the rushing attack saw four players with 45 or more yards on the ground. In two games this season Russ has completed 71.7 percent of his passes and thrown five touchdowns without an interception. Alex Lakes is the team's leading rusher, averaging 109.5 yards/game while Tee Mitchell has chipped in with 86.0 yards/contest. Mercer is now 16-1 when scoring 30 or more points in the last three seasons.

SPECIAL EVENTS  — Tech has some special events planned for the game against Mercer. The 98.5 Kiss FM Tailgate Park will be open all day, with official activities — including live music from Carissa and Company— beginning at 3 p.m. The Golden Eagle Walk will come through the Tailgate Park at 3:45 p.m. The night is Communiversity Night, with free tickets provided to members of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. It's also First Tennessee Bank Poster Night with free schedule posters available. Prior to kickoff, TTU president Phil Oldham will lead the annual Running of the Freshmen onto the field.

TICKETS ON SALE  — Season tickets are on sale for the five-game 2015 Golden Eagle home schedule. Several ticket packages are available. Individual game tickets may also be purchased. Visit or call the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931-372-3940). Tickets may also be purchased online at

Click here to read the Golden Eagle game notes for the contest vs. Mercer