Tech hopes to stay in OVC championship race Saturday at Jacksonville State

The Tennessee Tech football team puts its winning record on the line as it travels to Jacksonville, Ala. to take on the 15th-ranked Jacksonville State Gamecocks. The Golden Eagles (5-4, 4-2 OVC) are just one game behind Eastern Illinois in the Ohio Valley Conference standings with two weeks to play. Tech enters the game winning four of its last five OVC games and has two remaining against JSU and Murray State at home to round out the season. Last week, the Golden Eagles fell on the road to Southeastern Conference opponent Georgia 38-0.

“We’re coming to town to try to beat these guys. We know it’s not going to be easy by any means. We’re going to have to play an unbelievably good game,” said Tech head coach Watson Brown. “We don’t get into stats and all that; we just have to figure out a way to win.”

Jacksonville State (6-3, 4-1 OVC) is on pace to have one of the best seasons in program history, but is ineligible for the OVC title due to academics. The Gamecocks have not allowed a touchdown in the last nine quarters and has not been shutout since 2000, the longest current streak in the OVC.

JSU has won six of its last seven; its only loss in the stretch came on Homecoming against Eastern Illinois, 28-20.

“I don’t know that we’re looking at it as a cornerstone win as coaches,” Brown said, “but the players are trying to hang in there and win a championship. We had certain goals this year. Of course, everybody wants to win the championship. We want a winning record. We want to win all of our games at home. We wanted to win the Sergeant York Trophy. All four of those things are still in our grasp. The hardest one, of course, is winning the championship.”

Brown acknowledged the clutch play of the Golden Eagles this season, saying, “We could honestly be 1-and-whatever right now. We’ve won close games this year and we’ve won them in the fourth quarter when we’ve had to make plays to win them. It’s not been easy, and I don’t think it needs to be overblown where we are. I don’t think we’ve jumped as high as everybody thinks we have. We still have a long way to go.”

Tech has given up 52 points in the third quarter, while only scoring 19. JSU on the other hand has scored 129 second-half points and has given up only 66.

Kickoff is set for noon Saturday and can be heard live on Magic 98.5 and online via TeamLine. The Golden Eagles finish the regular season at home against Murray State on Nov. 21.