Click here to download or read the TTU vs. EIU game notes
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Sure, it’s early. It’s just the first of eight conference games over the next 10 weeks. Then again, it’s pretty important.
Tennessee Tech visits Eastern Illinois Saturday as the two teams open Ohio Valley Conference play, and each is hoping a win can propel them into the thick of the race for the league championship. Kickoff in O'Brien Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m.
Both teams are 1-1 overall, each with a loss to a Big Ten opponent. Tech fell at Iowa, 34-7, and last week EIU dropped a 42-21 contest at Northwestern.
The Panthers have an edge in the all-time series, including five straight on their home field, but Tech grabbed a victory last year, topping the Panthers 34-20 with 17 unanswered points in the second half. The Tech defense stood tall, intercepting four passes, earning eight quarterback sacks and limiting EIU to just 39 rushing yards.
This time around, the two teams and their starting quarterbacks rank first and second in the league in passing efficiency. Tech’s Tre Lamb is first with a 162.1 rating, averaging 175 yards per game, while EIU’s Jimmy Garoppolo is second with a 158. 1 rating, averaging 256.5 yards per game.
In addition to their successful passing attack, both teams rank highly in the OVC in passing efficiency defense, with Tech first and EIU third.
The game marks the fifth consecutive year -- all five under coach Watson Brown -- that Tech has opened league action on the road. The Golden Eagles are 1-3 in their previous four OVC openers on the road, including a season-opening 45-24 setback in 2007 in Brown’s first game at the TTU helm.
EIU claimed the win the last time these teams met on O’Brien Field, a 23-15 decision in 2009. Tech rallied from a 20-point deficit in the second half, but couldn’t overcome five turnovers.
Records in 2011:
Tennessee Tech is 1-1 overall / 0-0 Ohio Valley Conference
Eastern Illinois is 1-1 overall /0-0 Ohio Valley Conference
Last Week: Tennessee Tech defeated Maryville, 56-7
Eastern Illinois lost at Northwestern, 42-21
Series Record: EIU leads the all-time series, 12-5
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
Television: Only in Charleston area (WEIU)
Live Stats: www.eiupanthers.com
Tennessee Tech - www.TTUsports.com
Eastern Illinois - www.eiupanthers.com