COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle football team suffered its fourth straight loss on Saturday, spoiling Tech’s homecoming when the team fell to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 34 – 14.
Tech couldn’t get out of its own way at times on Saturday, committing 10 penalties for 62 yards. Jacksonville State held the Tech offense to 280 total yards in the contest. The Golden Eagle defense gave up 450 yards of offense to the Gamecocks. Tech’s run defense stepped up to the challenge once again, allowing 199 yards rushing on 55 attempts.
“They beat us in every phase of the game,” head coach Watson Brown said. “We just have to hang in there right now. We just got beat.”
Tech fell behind early, giving up a touchdown on Jacksonville State’s second drive of the ball game. The Gamecocks took the ball 80 yards on 15 plays and chewed up 5:30 seconds on the game clock to take an early 7 – 0 lead.
Down 17 – 0 in the second quarter, Tech got on the scoreboard when starting quarterback Darian Stone connected with Krys Cates on a post route down the middle of the Gamecock defense. The touchdown pulled Tech within 10 right before the half.
Jacksonville State rattled off 17 unanswered points before Tech scored again. Back up quarterback Jared Davis entered the game late in the fourth quarter. Davis kept the football on the zone read around the right end and found his way into the end zone. Davis’s touchdown capped off the scoring for the contest.
“Don’t blame the kids for being 0 – 5 in the conference,” Brown said. “It’s not them. They are trying hard. It’s on me and the way I set up the program. “
Things do not get any easier for the Golden Eagles as they travel the Charleston, Ill. to take on the number two ranked Eastern Illinois University Panthers.
Senior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo leads Eastern Illinois offensively. Garoppolo is a 4-year starter for the Panthers. Garoppolo finished 10th in the Walter Payton Award, which is the FCS’s version of the Heisman Trophy. Garoppolo has been named a candidate for the same award this season already.
The Garoppolo-led offense ranks first in FCS passing yards per game at 408.9 yards per contest. Garoppolo also leads the FCS in total passing yards with 3,145 yards and counting this season.
Tech currently has the number one and two tackle leaders in conference play on defense. Linebacker Tra’Darius Goff leads the conference with 56 total tackles, averaging 11.2 tackles a game. Safety Marty Jones is second in the conference with 45 total tackles, racking up nine tackles a game.
Brown said this is the best FCS team that he has seen since he has been at Tech.