Tech can clinch winning season, nine seniors to be honored on Saturday

The Golden Eagles will wrap up the 2009 football season at home on Saturday when they take on the Murray State Racers. For nine seniors, it will mark the last time they take the field in the purple and gold as Tech (5-5, 4-3 OVC) looks to finish with a winning record and the only undefeated home mark in the Ohio Valley Conference.

If that happens, it will be only the fourth time the Golden Eagles go undefeated in Tucker Stadium since it opened in 1966. A win would also give Tech its first winning season under coach Watson Brown and its first in five years and its first winning OVC record since 2001.

“I’m very concerned about this game. It is going to be very hard to win it. We’re going to have to play at a high-octane level with a team that’s much more tired and more sore than they were four weeks ago. These last two weeks have just paid a price on us,” said Brown.

Both teams are coming into the finale after suffering losses last weekend. Murray State (3-7, 2-5) lost 49-13 at Southeast Missouri, while Tech fell 55-28 at 15th-ranked Jacksonville State.

The Racers won last year’s meeting 51-21 at Murray, Ky., but Tech leads the all-time series 40-33-1 and has not lost to MSU at Tucker stadium since 1999.

After hard-fought games against Georgia and Jacksonville State, Tech has to deal with a few key injuries coming into the final week.

Quarterback Lee Sweeney went down in the JSU game with a leg injury, but looks to play in his final game in Purple and Gold.

“We will have a lot of players not practicing this week and try to play the game,” Brown said. “This is really the first week that’s happened.”

Sweeney, who has already written most of the Tech and OVC record books, needs just 197 yards to surpass Kelley Holcomb for fifth place in all time OVC passing yards with 7,201.

Murray State fired its head coach, Matt Griffin, earlier this week after the loss to SEMO. Defensive coordinator John Lister will take the helm as the interim coach for this week’s contest.

“This is a big game, there’s no doubt,” Brown said, “but there is so much left to do, win or lose. We’ve got three goals left and it’s all in one game. The good news is we’ve gotten to this point and have it set up. The bad news is it’s not going to be easy at all. It’s at best a toss-up game.”

Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. at Tucker Stadium. Admission is free to all Tech students with a valid I.D. The game can also be heard live on Magic 98.5 and online via TeamLine.

Seniors Brendon Fisher, Kelvin Quarles, Taron Ryce, Calvin Smith, Lee Sweeney, Cedric Wilkerson, Derek Dickerson, Brandon Harris and Derrian Waters, will be honored for their time as Golden Eagles.