Golden Eagles prepare battle in the trenches

The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle football team looks to end their three game losing skid this homecoming weekend against OVC rival Jacksonville State (5-2, 1-2). 

This weekend’s matchup showcases the strengths of both teams against each other. Jacksonville State’s rushing attack against Tennessee Tech’s rushing defense. 

Jacksonville State sits right outside the FCS Top 25 in this week’s polls. Through seven games the Gamecocks are rushing for a stout 211 yards per game which ranks second in the OVC and 26 nationally. They use a stable of running backs to reach that mark.

 DaMarcus James leads the way for the Gamecocks with 587 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Troymaine Pope and Miles Jones have rushed for 349 yards and 333 yards respectively. Eli Jenkins, one of the quarterbacks Jacksonville State will use, is fourth on the team in rushing with 245 yards and two touchdowns.   

The Tech defense should be up to the challenge this Saturday. The Golden Eagles rank fourth in the OVC in conference game rushing defence, allowing only 140 yards a game at 3.6 yards an attempt.  

Through four conference games the Golden Eagles are led in tackling by junior linebacker Tra’Darius Goff who has registered 40 tackles total, which ranks first in the OVC. Goff is also credited with 3.5 tackles for loss which is tied for tenth in the OVC and 1.5 sacks which ranks eighteenth overall in the conference. Goff has also forced two fumbles in conference play which is tied for second in the OVC. Sophomore linebacker Jay Rudwall is tied for fourth in the OVC with one forced fumble.  

Redshirt Junior Marty Jones is tied for third in the conference with 35 tackles.  Jones has recovered two fumbles tying him for second in the OVC. Jones is tied for twelfth in the conference with junior teammate Austin Tallent for passes defended. Both Jones and Tallent have two passes defended this season and each of them has registered an interception. 

Junior corner James Huguley has five passes defended this season ranking him eighth in the conference. On the other side of the field sophomore corner Demario Donnell has defended four passes tying him for ninth in the OVC.

Sophomore defensive end Harrison Reid also has tallied 3.5 tackles for loss in conference games this season.  Senior defensive end Malcolm Mitchell has registered 1.5 sacks through the four conference games ranking thirteenth in the conference.

Offensively, the Golden Eagles are poised to get starting quarterback Darian Stone back from a hand injury which has caused him to miss the last three quarters of the UT Martin game two weeks ago and the entire game at Eastern Kentucky last weekend. Stone looks to bring back more of a running threat to the quarterback position which has been lacking in his absence.  

This week’s game will be won or lost in the trenches, although it will not look like an old-school football game where each team lines up pro or power sets and run them fifty times. The team that can control the line of scrimmage consistently throughout the ball game will have the best chance to win on Saturday.