Hampton matchup to be season’s first test

The upcoming football game against Hampton University will be Tech’s first true indicator of the expectations for the season. Hampton is the first Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent of the season.

In week one, the Golden Eagles thrashed overmatched Cumberland University 63 – 7.

Junior safety Cory Webber picked off a pass in the first quarter. Webber, playing from his free safety position, jumped a go route down the sideline, picking the ball off for the Golden Eagle defense.

Later in the game, freshman defensive end Jordan Patrick tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage. Sophomore defensive tackle Avery Rollins would snag the ball out of the air before it hit the turf giving the Golden Eagles their second pick of the evening. 

Sophomore return specialist Ladarius Vanlier received national honors for his performance against Cumberland. Vanlier was named National Punt Return Performer of the Week by College Football Performance Awards.

“I was surprised we played team ball as well as we did,” Head Coach Watson Brown said. “We didn’t make the kind of mistakes that cost you games. We didn’t turn the ball over, we only had five penalties and we were a good third down team on both sides of the ball.”

Last Saturday, the Golden Eagles stepped up to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level to play perennial Big 10 power Wisconsin in week two.

The Badgers gave Tech their first loss of the season defeating the Golden Eagles 48 – 0. The physical play of Wisconsin was too much for the Golden Eagles to overcome.

“We can play better than that,” Brown said. “Sometimes physical play can make you not play as well. “

It wasn’t all bad for the Golden Eagles. Senior punter Chad Zinchini was named Ohio Valley Conference co-Special Teams Player of the Week. Zinchini averaged 50 yards a punt against Wisconsin. Zinchini hit a 70-yarder making that his career best.

This coming Saturday, Tech will travel to Hampton, Virginia to take on the Pirates in week three. This will be the first of Tech’s nine straight Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponents before their bye week in week 11.

Tech defeated Hampton 41 – 31 in last season’s home opener at Tucker Stadium.

“Our season starts now,” Brown said. “The next 10 games are toss ups.”