No. 4 North Alabama Nips Florida Tech, 34-31
By Florida Tech // October 19, 2014
NORTH ALABAMA 34, FLORIDA TECH 31
ABOVE VIDEO: Florida Tech hits the field for their match up against the North Alabama Lions at Pirate Stadium on Saturday.
ABOVE VIDEO: Florida Tech football head coach Steve Englehart recaps the Panthers’ effort vs. North Alabama. Florida Tech hosted the No 4. Lions at Pirate Stadium on Saturday.
ABOVE VIDEO: Panter running back Trevor Sand talks about North Alabama’s defense. Florida Tech hosted the No 4. Lions at Pirate Stadium on Saturday.
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BEVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE , FLORIDA – With the clock winding ever and ever closer to zeroes, Florida Tech’s field goal unit rushed onto the field and narrowly got the snap off but Brion Ashley was unable to keep his 45-yard attempt to tie the game between the uprights, giving No. 4 North Alabama a 34-31 victory Saturday night at Pirate Stadium.
The Lions jumped out to a quick lead, scoring the game’s first 17 points before Ashley’s 37-yard field goal cut the deficit to two scores.
However, FIT was able to capture some momentum with a 33-yard touchdown connection between Mark Cato and Wayne Saunders with 33 seconds remaining that brought the Panthers within seven at halftime.
FIT didn’t take long to get things all square, opening the scoring in the second half on a touchdown rush by Cato from a yard out early in the third quarter.
The two squads would then trade punches back and forth until a Lamnte Thompson two-yard touchdown run gave the Lions a 10-point lead with 5:30 to go in the game.
The Panthers would put together an impressive nine-play, 77-yard drive on the ensuing possession, culminating with a six-yard touchdown romp from Trevor Sand that put FIT down just three.
“I’m very proud of our guys,” said head coachSteve Englehart.
“I’m proud of the way they fought all the way to the end again. I don’t know what it is with us having to drive down within the last seconds of the game to get a win. We’ve been pretty decent at it, it just didn’t go our way today.”
UNA was able to chew up some clock on its next possession but was forced to give the ball back to the Panthers at their own 31-yard line with 1:36 left on the clock. Cato led FIT down the field, giving the Panthers the 45-yard field goal opportunity to keep the game alive. Unfortunately, things would not break FIT’s way on this comfortable fall night.
In total, the redshirt freshman quarterback put up 244 yards and a pair of scores on 25 of 45 through the air. Sand proved to be an absolute monster to would-be 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 Saunders and Terrance Bynum each hauled in a touchdown reception.
J.J. Sanders was a menace to the UNA offense, recording a team high nine tackles, including three for a loss and two sacks.
Tyler Rosenblatt created FIT’s only takeaway of the game, picking off a Luke Wingo pass.
After missing last week’s game, Wingo returned under center for the Lions to complete 15 of 23 passes for 273 yards and a score. Lamnte Thompson showed why he’s the GSC’s leader in rushing yards per game, tallying 124 yards and a trio of touchdowns on the ground.
Dre Hall was the primary target of Wingo’s passes, registering five receptions for 117 yards and a trip to paydirt. On the defensive side, linebacker Nick Johnson led the unit with 12 total tackles, including one for a loss.
FIT will return to Pirate Stadium one week from today, Oct. 25, as the Panthers take on Mississippi College at 1 p.m. ET. The game will mark FIT’s second annual homecoming game.
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. Live stats will be available at FloridaTechSports.com/live.
Season and individual game tickets remain for FIT’s two remaining home games. Tickets are available by calling 321-674-6228 or stopping by the Clemente Center Ticket Office Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.