Playoff and title hopes rest on Saturday's game vs. Austin Peay
Read/download Tech game notes vs. APSU
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Will this be one of those games for the ages? It could be, if Tennessee Tech is successful against Austin Peay in a 1:30 p.m. Ohio Valley Conference game in Tucker Stadium. The Golden Eagles can win their first OVC championship in 36 years and earn the school's first-ever appearance in the national playoffs.
Fans are asked to wear purple to the stadium in support of coach Watson Brown's team, which is ranked 21st nationally and tied for first place in the OVC standings heading into the final weekend of the 2011 season.
A Tech win would put the Golden Eagles into the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs for the first time since they were established in 1978. It would be Tech's first OVC title since 1975.
And, it boils down to a rivalry game against Austin Peay pitting two former coaching associates against one another. Brown is in his fifth season at TTU, while his former assistant coach Rick Christophel took over at Austin Peay the same year.
In the previous four games between the two long-time friends, each team owns two wins -- including one home victory and one on the road. Tech has won the last two games, and owns a 27-17-1 advantage in the all-time series, but none of that will mean a thing come kickoff time Saturday.
In addition to all that's at stake for Tech on the field, the game will be surrounded with several other special features including Senior Day for 20 Golden Eagles wrapping up their careers in Purple & Gold.
The 2011 TTU senior class, which will be recognized with pregame introductions, includes Travis Adkins, Dominick Baker, Tim Benford, Nick Campbell, Ben Davis, Dwight Evans, Dontey Gay, Jamere Hogue, Malcolm Jones, Jake McIntosh, Matt Mercy, Alden Olverson, J.R. Richmond, Scott Schweitzer, Charlie Stevens, Ryan St. John, Richmond Tooley, Justin Vann, Corey Watson and Ryan Weeks.
Saturday is also the game for "Recognizing Academic Excellence" as Tech has invited Honor Roll students from elementary schools to join the Athletic Director's Honor Roll students during pregame to help greet the team when it enters the field. All Honor Roll students will be admitted free with vouchers distributed through area schools.
Eleven different teams have captured the OVC football championship in the 35 years since Tech last claimed the title in 1975 including former league members Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee and Youngstown State.
Tech comes into the game ranking among the top defenses in the OVC and among the most effective offenses in the league.
Tech ranks first in the OVC in total defense and rushing defense, second in scoring defense and third in pass defense. The Golden Eagles rank fourth in the OVC in total offense, third in scoring offense, and fifth in both passing offense and rushing offense.
Twice this season Tech has piled up more than 500 yards of offense, including 566 against Maryville College for the highest total in Brown’s five seasons at the helm. Tech had 511 yards against Southeast Missouri. The Golden Eagles have topped 400 yards in three other games.
However, before the Golden Eagles count any chickens, they must guard against a letdown with a couple of past games serving as reminders.
In 1977, Tech and Austin Peay met with the OVC title on the line and the Golden Eagles dominated the game -- but lost, 24-21. Tech suffered eight fumbles, losing five of them. The Golden Eagles had 26 first downs compared with nine by the Governors. Austin Peay finished the year with a 6-1 mark in the OVC and won the championship, while the Golden Eagles finished second at 5-2.
Just last year, Tech stunned Jacksonville State with a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Gamecocks and deny JSU the OVC title.
Tickets for the game are on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling (931) 372-3940.
The Magic 98.5 Tailgate Park opens at 10:30 a.m. with live music, and tickets windows and gates will be open at 12:30 p.m. Honor Roll students are asked to meet on the field under the scoreboard by 1 p.m.
Austin Peay Governors (3-7 / 2-5 OVC)
at No. 21/23 Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (6-3 / 5-2 OVC)
Tucker Stadium / Overall Field (16,500)
Cookeville, Tenn. / 1:30 P.M. (CT) KICKOFF
SENIOR DAY / ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE DAY / FOOTBALL ALUMNI REUNION
Records in 2011:
Tennessee Tech is 6-3 overall / 5-2 Ohio Valley Conference
Austin Peay is 3-7 overall /2-5 Ohio Valley Conference
Tech downed #25 Eastern Kentucky, 28-21
Austin Peay lost at Murray State, 56-24
Last Year: Tennessee Tech won, 34-20, in Clarksville, Tenn.
Series Record: Tech leads, 27-17-1
National Rankings: Tech ranks 21st in the Coaches poll, 23rd TSN poll; APSU is unranked
Golden Eagle Sports Network (Roger Ealey, Buddy Pearson, Brandon Goodwin)
also Teamline Direct (Dial 216-502-3200 / enter team code 0654) - $5 per game
Internet: www.Magic985.com for audio stream
Live Stats: www.TTUsports.com
Television: Live on WCTE TV
Tennessee Tech - www.TTUsports.com
Austin Peay - www.letsgopeay.com
Social Media: TTU Sports (Facebook); @TTUGoldenEagles (Twitter)