COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech and Eastern Kentucky
get an early start on the 2009 Ohio Valley Conference football
race, with the Golden Eagles (1-0) facing the defending league
champion Colonels (0-1) Saturday night in Roy Kidd Stadium in
Both teams have had plenty of time to prepare for this game; Tech
will be off nine days since its season-opening 51-10 win against
Pikeville College (Sept. 10) while the Colonels have had two full
weeks after kicking off the year with a near-upset at Indiana
Individually, TTU quarterback Lee Sweeney can tie the school
record for career TD passes if he connects once for a score against
Fans who aren't able to attend the game can listen to the action
on the Golden Eagle Sports Network, with the broadcast airing on
Magic 98.5 FM through middle Tennessee. The broadcast will also be
available via Free Teamline, on either the Internet or
A live webstream of the game can also be seen on OVCsports.TV.
The Golden Eagle roster lists only one player from the
Commonwealth of Kentucky, sophomore starting runningback Dontey Gay
Three Golden Eagles celebrate birthdays this week, including one
on game day. Tre Lamb’s big day was Wednesday (Sept. 16) and
Cole Cassidy’s on Thursday (Sept. 17). Saturday (Sept. 19) is
sophomore quarterback Clint Brewster’s birthday.
The Golden Eagles have a chance to start the season with a 2-0
record for the first time in 20 years. The last time that occurred
was 1989, when head coach Jim Ragland led Tech to wins over Lock
Haven (38-17) and Chattanooga (28-10) for a 2-0 start before
Tech opened Ohio Valley Conference play last season with a 29-27
victory over Southeast Missouri on the road in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Three years ago, Tech opened conference play in 2006 with a 27-14
win over Eastern Kentucky in Tucker Stadium for acting head coach
Since 2000, this will mark the fourth time that Tech opens the
conference schedule against the Colonels. Tech is 2-1 in the
previous three contests. The Golden Eagles claimed a 9-3 victory in
Richmond in 2000, EKU gained a 52-3 win in 2005 on its home field,
and Tech posted a 27-14 win in Cookeville in 2006.
Senior quarterback Lee Sweeney comes into the EKU game with 37
career touchdown passes, just one shy of the school record of 38,
set by Robert Craft (2001-04). He also needs 384 yards of total
offense to break that school record, as well.
Eastern Kentucky suffered a tough 19-13 loss to BCS foe Indiana to
open the season, then had a week off, giving coach Dean
Hood’s Colonels plenty of time to heal and prepare for the
game against the Golden Eagles. Quarterbacks Cody Watts and T.J.
Pryor combined to pass for 276 yards against the Hoosiers, going
17-for-26. The Colonels had two 100-yard receivers, with senior
Garnett Phelps posting a career-high 104 yards and Evan Cromer
getting nine catches for 124 yards. The Colonels held Indiana
to 73 rushing yards, but the Hoosiers had 326 passing yards.
Eastern Kentucky won last year’s game in Cookeville, 33-12,
and owns a commanding 48-17 advantage in the all-time series.
Tech’s last win came in 2006, a 27-14 win in Cookeville.
Tech’s last win in Richmond was a 9-3 defensive battle in
Dontey Gay and Tremaine Hudson gave Tech a two-way attack against
Pikeville. Gay had 88 yards and two touchdowns in nine carries,
while Hudson had 86 yards in 11 carries. They combined for 174
yards in 20 carries. Each had one kickoff return, Gay for 37 yards
and Hudson for 38.
Last year, Dontey Gay (776) finished one yard behind Tremaine
Hudson (777) in all-purpose yardage. Last week, Gay led Tech with
125 all-purpose yards, one ahead of Hudson’s 124 yards. That
makes them even in their career numbers with 901 yards apiece. Both
need 91 yards to hit the 1,000 yard career mark.
Sophomore Jimmie Blair made his Golden Eagle debut against
Pikeville and took Tech on a four-play, 53-yard fourth quarter
scoring drive. Blair had all four carries in the drive, including a
35-yard run and a 15-yard touchdown. He finished with seven carries
for 62 yards. Blair, who moved from safety to runningback,
hasn’t forgotten how to tackle, getting credit for two
tackles on special teams.
Sophomore Howard Griffin led Tech with a career-best eight tackles
against Pikeville. One of the team’s most improved players in
the spring, Griffin is the starter at BULL linebacker. Last season
he made a total of 17 tackles, with a career-high of six.
Among the players making their Golden Eagle defensive debut last
week were senior Kelvin Quarles and sophomore Mauricio Wallace, and
both were among the four players with five tackles apiece. Wallace
moved to cornerback from a wide receiver in the spring. Quarles is
a transfer from UAB.
The Golden Eagle defense forced two turnovers against
Pikeville, both interceptions and career-firsts. Senior Brendon
Fisher snared as Bear pass on the second play of the game, setting
up a 32-yard scoring drive. Junior Dustin Dillehay pulled down a
pass that was deflected by Howrd Griffin, and Tech turned that
turnover into an 89-yard scoring drive.
Freshman Barry Lenon had Tech’s only quarterback sack in the
season opener against Pikeville.
With the knee injury to Derrian Waters, sophomore Justin Vann
moves into the starting spot at BANDIT linebacker. Vann had four
tackles against Pikeville. True freshman Marcus Edwards moves into
the backup role on the two-deep.
Richmond Tooley notched a career-best 13 tackles last year against
Eastern Kentucky. Tooley has earned the starting nod at the
boundary cornerback position. He started eight games last year as a
true freshman. Against Jacksonville State, Tooley had nine tackles.
He ranked fifth on the team, finishing with 56 total tackles.
Redshirt freshman Tim Donegan has earned the job as
Tech’s placekicker. Against Pikeville, Donegan made his only
field goal attempt (28 yards), was 6-for-7 on PATs, and averaged
63.6 yards on nine kickoffs.