The Tennessee Tech football team rides a three-game winning streak heading into this week’s game against Murray State, but that streak is in jeopardy with nine starters out injured. “We’ve got to do the best we can do,” head coach Watson Brown said.
The Golden Eagles (4-4, 3-2 OVC) are ranked third in the Ohio Valley Conference standings after beating Tennessee State on Oct. 23.
Murray State (3-5, 2-3 OVC) returns home for the first time since it beat Missouri State by a score of 72-59 on Oct. 9. The Racers have lost two of their last three OVC games, both of those came on the road.
The Tech defense faces its toughest challenge to date as the Racers rank second in the conference in scoring offense, racking up an average of 32.4 points and nearly 400 yards per game in OVC play.
On the other hand, Murray State ranks second to last in the league in points allowed, giving up 28.4 points per game.
Last year in Cookeville, the Golden Eagles thumped the Racers 45-14 after falling to them in Murray 51-21 in 2008.
Not only will Tech have to try to contain the Racers’ high-powered attacks, it will have to stop them without several key players.
Defensive starters Charlie Seivers, Will Johnson and Caleb Mitchell are all listed as unable to play this week.
In fact, Tech has suffered numerous injuries on both sides of the ball thus far this season.
“We’ve got good players behind them and they’ve got to go play,” Brown said.
The Golden Eagles will also have to battle without five of its offensive starters.
Tech has already lost offensive lineman Malcolm Jones for the season with an arm injury. The rest are on a week-to-week basis.
According to Brown, Cass Barnes, Ryan St. John, Cody Forbes, and DuJuan Brown will all get considerable playing time on the offensive side of the ball.
“I don’t think this is a life or death, end of season deal,” Brown said, “but when you’re trying to do what we’re trying to do, every game is important.”
Brown and his staff have altered their plans to prepare for Barnes to run the offense in the wake of Tre Lamb’s knee injury.
“We’ve got to be a little careful andnot to overdo Cass and make sure he can do the things he can do best,” he said.
Tech leads the all-time series 41-33-1, dating back to the first meeting in 1930.
“It’s going to be different,” Brown said.
Kickoff for Saturday’s game is slated for 1 p.m. at Stewart Stadium in Murray, Ky.
The game will be broadcast live on the Golden Eagle Sports Network via Magic 98.5 and Free TeamLine.