Florida Tech Dominates Mississippi College, 44-9

By  //  October 26, 2014

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mark cato throws five touchdown passes

Florida Tech's Gabe Hughes climbs over a Mississippi College defender for a touchdown in the Panthers' 44-9 Homecoming victory Saturday. (Ryan Seeloff image)

Florida Tech’s Gabe Hughes climbs over a Mississippi College defender for a touchdown in the Panthers’ 44-9 Homecoming victory Saturday. (Ryan Seeloff image)

CLICK HERE FOR GAME STATS & BOX SCORE

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – With the sun shining and the temperature staying at a fairly comfortable level, you couldn’t have asked for a better day for a football game in the Sunshine State.

As far as Florida Tech was concerned, things couldn’t have gone much better on the gridiron either. With a strong number of alumni returning to Melbourne for FIT’s Homecoming Game, the Panthers outmatched Mississippi College in virtually every facet, leading to a 44-9 victory.

Steve Englehart

Steve Englehart

“It’s always nice to get a win like that, especially on Homecoming,” said head coach Steve Englehart. “I think we made some pretty good plays out there on both sides of the ball and gave the crowd something to cheer about.”

The Panthers opened scoring with an 11-yard touchdown toss from Mark Cato to Xavier Milton, with a Josh Davidson PAT making the lead 7-0. Mississippi College would bounce right back, with a Kyle Smith scoring plunge from a yard out but a missed point-after attempt would keep the Choctaws behind at 7-6.

Mark Cato

Mark Cato

From there, it was all FIT. The Panthers would rattle off three-straight touchdowns, including back-to-back scoring receptions from Wayne Saunders.

Xavier Milton

Xavier Milton

Mississippi College would get back on the board with a 27-yard field goal from Hunter Estess with 6:17 remaining in the third quarter but FIT would quickly dispel any comeback plans, tallying the game’s final 17 points.

Cato put together what was quite possibly the best performance of his career, completing 29 of 39 passes for 304 yards and five touchdown strikes, spread out among Milton, Saunders, Gabe Hughes and Tyler Bass. The redshirt freshman was also the Panthers’ fourth leading rusher, garnering 32 yards on six carries.

Saunders-180-2

Wayne Saunders

Despite sitting out the second half as an injury precaution, Milton once again surpassed the century-mark, totaling 123 yards and a score on an eye-catching 13 first half receptions.

Trevor Sand

Trevor Sand

Trevor Sand led a rushing attack that recorded 276 yards. The redshirt sophomore carried the ball just 15 times but still managed to tally 109 yards for an average of 7.3 yards per carry. Kaleb Leach was the lone back to score for FIT, powering his way to pay dirt from two yards out.

While no single defender really separated himself from the pack, FIT put forth a team effort in stopping the Choctaws.

ABOVE VIDEO: Xavier Milton makes an incredible one-handed grab during the Mississippi College game. The Panthers won 44-9.

Jason Kollock, Chris Stapleton and Andrew Adair all tied for the team lead in tackles with seven, while 20 different Panthers recorded at least one tackle.

FIT also successfully turned over Mississippi College twice. Adair forced a Choctaw fumble, with Byron Matthewsmaking the recovery. Additionally, Keyon Elam came down with an interception deep in FIT territory to keep Mississippi College off the scoreboard.

Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton

While the Choctaws struggled to put points on the board, they had a fair amount of success moving the ball on FIT. Mississippi College garnered 156 yards on the ground, while the Choctaw passing attack put up 167 yards through the air for a total offensive output of 323 yards.

Andrew Adair

Andrew Adair

Reggie Bennett had a monster game for the Mississippi College defense, recording 12 solo and six assisted tackles for a total of 18. Additionally, Dylan Klibert tallied three tackles for a loss, while Kaleb Coleman managed two of his own.

FIT will hit the road for a Gulf South Conference road matchup, heading to Rome, Georgia for a 12 p.m. ET meeting with Shorter on Saturday, Nov. 1.

A live radio broadcast will be available on the new Official Radio Partner of the Panthers, WFIT 89.5 FM, with Jerry Durney and Paul Van Scott calling the game. The feed will also be available by clicking on the ‘Listen Live’ button in the top left hand corner at WFIT.org and through the free TuneIn Radio app. A link to live stats will be available at FloridaTechSports.com.

Tickets remain for FIT’s final remaining home game on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. ET against Valdosta State. Tickets are available by visiting FloridaTechSports.com, calling 321-674-6228 or stopping by the Clemente Center Ticket Office Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

SCORING SUMMARY

FLORIDA TECH: Mark Cato pass complete to Xavier Milton for 11 yards to the MC0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 11:48. Josh Davidson kick attempt good.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: Kyle Smith rush for 1 yard to the FIT0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 07:55. Josh Davidson kick attempt good.

FLORIDA TECH: Mark Cato pass complete to Gabe Hughes for 14 yards to the MC0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 04:55. Josh Davidson kick attempt good.

FLORIDA TECH: Mark Cato pass complete to Wayne Saunders for 4 yards to the MC0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 07:17. Josh Davidson kick attempt good.

FLORIDA TECH: Mark Cato pass complete to Wayne Saunders for 16 yards to the MC0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 02:50, PENALTY MC holding declined. Josh Davidson kick attempt failed.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: Hunter Estess field goal attempt from 27 GOOD, clock 06:17.

FLORIDA TECH: Mark Cato pass complete to Tyler Bass for 8 yards to the MC0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 02:04. Alex Brack kick attempt good.

FLORIDA TECH: Brion Ashley field goal attempt from 29 GOOD, clock 09:49.

FLORIDA TECH: Kaleb Leach rush for 2 yards to the MC0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 01:15. Alex Brack kick attempt good.

GAME PREVIEW

Panthers Take On Mississippi College For Homecoming

FLORIDA-TECH-TEAM-600-1

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – With a myriad of alumni returning to Melbourne for the game, Florida Tech will welcome the Choctaws of Mississippi College to Palm Bay High School’s Pirate Stadium on Saturday for the 1 p.m. ET kickoff of the Panthers’ Homecoming Game.

Florida Tech junior tight end Gabe Hughes was named one of two recipients of the USA College Football Tight End of the Week Award following his performance at West Alabama. (Florida Tech image)

Florida Tech junior tight end Gabe Hughes was named one of two recipients of the USA College Football Tight End of the Week Award following his performance at West Alabama. (Florida Tech image)

Late game dramatics have become a theme for the Panthers, with FIT falling on the wrong side this past weekend against then No. 4 North Alabama.

The Panthers attempted to rush their field goal unit onto the field with the clock mercilessly drawing near zeroes. Unfortunately, Brion Ashley was unable to get the kick off in time and the Lions escaped Pirate Stadium with a 34-31 win.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Mark Cato put up 244 yards and a pair of scores on 25 of 45 through the air in the contest.

Trevor Sand runs past the Tarleton State defense at AT&T Stadium. Sand picked up 152 yards and scored three TDs in the Panther's big win in Texas. (Amanda Stratford image)

Trevor Sand runs past the Tarleton State defense at AT&T Stadium. Sand picked up 152 yards and scored three TDs in the Panther’s big win in Texas. (Amanda Stratford image)

Trevor Sand proved to be an absolute monster to would-be Lions tacklers, carrying countless defenders to the tune of 191 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.

Xavier Milton once again led the Panther receiving attack with 81 yards and seven catches, while Wayne Saunders and Terrance Bynum each hauled in a touchdown reception.

J.J. Sanders was a menace to the UNA offense, forcing a fumble and recording a team high nine tackles, including three sacks. Tyler Rosenblatt created FIT’s only takeaway of the game, picking off a North Alabama pass.

Terrance Bynum

Terrance Bynum

Following the game, Bynum was named the Gulf South Conference Freshman of the Week. Bynum’s laurel, along with the five collected by Cato, make six out of seven times that FIT has received the award.

This is the first meeting between the two squads, as the Choctaws are currently in the process of joining the GSC once again after a 16-year stint at the Division III level.

Mississippi College comes into the game following a 62-0 defeat in its own Homecoming Game, falling to conference opponent Valdosta State. The Choctaws are 1-5 on the season, with their lone victory coming in a 56-14 win over the University of Faith.

All remaining FIT football games can be heard on the Panthers’ new Official Radio Partner WFIT 89.5 FM. Jerry Durney and Paul Van Scott will start Saturday’s broadcast with a pregame show at 12:30 p.m. ET. The broadcast can also be heard at WFIT.org and through the free TuneIn Radio app.

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Links to live video, audio and stats will be available at FloridaTechSports.com. SpaceCoastDaily.com Will Provide On-the-Scene Video Updates and Social Media Coverage During the Game.

Fans can keep up with Florida Tech Football by following the team’s social media accounts on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FLTechFootball, on Instagram at http://instagram.com/FloridaTechFootball and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FloridaTechFootball.

Tickets are available for all the remaining home games at FloridaTechSports.com, by stopping by the Clemente Center Ticket Office Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by calling 321-674-6228.


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