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October 30, 2008

Golden Eagle gridders in Nashville to face Tennessee State Tigers

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech can play the spoiler in the Ohio Valley Conference race during the next few weeks, beginning Saturday evening at LP Field in Nashville when the Golden Eagles (3-6/1-4 OVC) face the Tennessee State Tigers (6-2/3-1 OVC) at 5 p.m.

The game is Homecoming for TSU, which dropped a 27-20 overtime contest to Southeast Missouri last weekend. One of three league teams with one OVC loss, Tennessee State is looking to run the table to have any hopes of capturing the 2008 league title.

It's also the final game in the battle for the Sgt. York Trophy, and a TSU win would give the Tigers their second win the two-year-old series.

For the Golden Eagles, there's plenty of incentives, including some individual records that are poised to fall. In addition, Tech is aching to snap a four-game losing streak this season, and a four-game losing streak in the all-time series against Tennessee State.

Freshman wide receiver Tim Benford can break the records for most catches in a season as well as most touchdown catches. He had 53 catches, two shy of the school record, and eight TD catches, also two short of the record.

Junior quarterback Lee Sweeney is also closing in on the school record for TD passes thrown. He has tossed 35 for scores, three away from the school standard.

On defense, senior Maurice Smith ranks seventh among all active FCS players in career tackles with 302, becoming the 11th player in school history with 300 stops. He is second on the team and fourth in the OVC this season with 94 tackles. Senior Corey Reed leads Tech and ranks third in the conference with 99 tackles.

Two players who have emerged recently among tackles leaders are senior Xavier Purdy and freshman linebacker Jake McIntosh. Since returning from an injury, Purdy has averaged 7.3 tackles in the last four games. McIntosh has made career-high nine tackles in two of the past three games, and is averaging neasrly seven tackles per contest in the last five games.

Tennessee State is led by league-leading running back Javarris Williams and quarterback Antonio Heffner. Williams is avaeraging 102.4 yards rushing (150 per game in the OVC), and Heffner is averaging 221.4 yards passing and 272.4 yards in total offense to rank among OVC leaders. Williams is third in the FCS among active running backs with 4,111 career yards.