COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- One of just four teams in the nation to open the 2010 season facing back-to-back Top 25 opponents in the first two weeks -- and the only team from the Football Championship Subdivision to do so -- the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles kick off coach Watson Brown’s fourth season at the helm with a visit to Arkansas to meet the No. 17 Razorbacks Saturday evening.
Next week, Tech plays at No. 6 TCU.
“This is a great academic institution,” said Director of Athletics Mark Wilson, speaking to a Cookeville Chamber of Commerce gathering Tuesday morning. “Everybody in Tennessee knows it, and because of these games a lot more people will have an opportunity to learn about Tennessee Tech University and our community.
“Athletics is considered the ‘front porch’ of the university and community because we are so visible, and we relish that role. We take that opportunity seriously, and these games will bring our programs, our student-athletes, and our entire university and our community a high level of exposure. We hope people who see and hear of our football team these next two weeks, will be curious about Tennessee Tech and take the time to ‘open the front door’ and take a closer look at what a great institution we are, and that the Highlands of Tennessee are special.”
Wilson said the games will aid the athletics program financially, and the entire university, and pointed to some of the university’s recent credits.
“We have been named one of the nation’s ‘Best Value’ public colleges, and among America’s 100 Best College Buys,” he said. “Tech is ranked among the ‘Top Public Universities’ by U.S. News and World Report and ‘Best in the Southeast’ by the Princeton Review.
“Playing these games can give so many people the chance to
learn those things about Tennessee Tech,” he said.
It’s Tech’s 87th season of intercollegiate football, the 14th consecutive year that the Golden Eagles have squared off against an FBS/I-A opponent, and third straight year that Tech has faced two opponents from the higher division.
Both teams come into the game having won their last encounters, Tech wrapping up the 2009 season with a 6-5 overall record by downing Murray State, 45-14. The Razorbacks wound up 8-5 overall in 2009 following a 20-17 win over East Carolina in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Tech brings back 55 lettermen from last season including 16 starters. The biggest challenge facing Brown’s staff is replacing record-setting passer Lee Sweeney. Sophomore Tre Lamb is scheduled to make his first career start at quarterback. Last season, as a redshirt freshman, Lamb was 8-for-18 for 113 yards passing.
Lamb has a host of talented ball carriers and receivers to work with, while the offensive line includes returning starters Malcolm Jones, Scott Schweitzer and Slade Adams.
The defense includes four of Tech’s five team captains in DE Charlie Seivers, DT Dedrick Miley, LB Kelechi Ordu and DB Dustin Dillehay. The fifth captain is RB Henry Sailes.
Fans can hear all the action on the Golden Eagle Sports Network, with Roger Ealey and Buddy Pearson calling the game from the press box and Brandon Goodwin adding insight from the sidelines. The broadcasts can be heard throughout the region on Magic 98.5, the flagship of Golden Eagle football, and also via the telephone or Internet via Free Teamline.
The game will also be televised on a pay-per-view basis. Check the website ArkansasRazorbacks.com for details.
Records in 2009: Tennessee Tech was 6-5 overall
/ 5-3 Ohio Valley Conference
Arkansas was 8-5 overall / 3-5 Southeastern Conference
2010 Rankings: Arkansas is No. 17 (AP preseason); Tech is receiving votes in the FCS poll
Series Record: This game will be the first meeting between the two teams
Golden Eagle Sports Network (Roger Ealey, Buddy Pearson, Brandon Goodwin)
also Free Teamline (Call 1-800-846-4675 - team code 0654)
Live Stats: www.arkansasrazorbacks.com
Last Game: Tech defeated Murray State, 45-14, in the regular season finale
Arkansas defeated East Carolina, 20-17, in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Tennessee Tech - www.TTUsports.com
Arkansas - www.arkansasrazorbacks.com