Florida Tech Opens Up Conference Play Against No. 8 North Alabama Saturday
By Florida Tech // September 25, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Having begun the season with a trio of non-conference contests, Florida Tech (1-2, 0-0 GSC) hits “The Shoals” for its Gulf South Conference opener against No. 8 North Alabama. Kickoff in Florence, Alabama is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
The game is featured as the GSC-TV Game of the Week and as such will be broadcasted live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
The Panthers know they will have their hands full when facing the defending GSC Co-Champions.
“North Alabama has been a really good football team for a long time,” said head coach Steve Englehart.
“Bobby Wallace is a great head coach who has been there for a few years now and he has a really good staff. Offensively, they have a great offensive line, they are all over 300 pounds. They run block really well for one of the best backs, not only in the conference, but in the country in Lamonte Thompson. Luke Wingo is a very good quarterback. He is very efficient, throws and runs the ball well.
“Defensively they run some four man lines and some three man lines, we’ve seen both out of them so we have to be prepared for both. They’re secondary covers really well and their defensive line plays with great energy,” said Englehart.
The Lions are off to a 2-0 start to the season following victories over Miles and conference foe Mississippi College. Scoring at a 34.0 point per game clip, UNA boasts the GSC’s leading rusher in Lamonte Thompson, who ranks second in the nation in yards per game with 180.5.
Senior Luke Wingo starts under center for the Lions. Wingo has completed 35 of his 52 passes this season for 380 yards and three touchdowns. Lee Mayhall is his favorite target, having grabbed eight passes for 99 yards.
Linebacker Antonio Curry leads UNA in tackles with 14, while defensive end Barron Miller’s 2.5 tackles for loss paces the Lions. Overall, UNA has allowed the second fewest passing yards in the conference at 130.5.
The Panther offense will be led by redshirt-sophomore Mark Cato, who returned from injury a week ago to pass for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns. T.J. Lowder has been a stalwart for the FIT receivers, hauling in 225 yards and a touchdown.
Trevor Sand, who torched the Lions to the tune of 191 yards and a score last season, will be a game time decision for the Panthers.
Despite appearing in less than one game this season, Sand ranks second on the team in rushing with 133 yards on 13 carries. Gary Holmes, FIT’s leading rusher, and Antwuan Haynes, the reigning GSC Freshman of the Week, provide depth to the Panther backfield.
Chris Stapleton heads the FIT defense with 24 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss. Trai Cadore ranks close behind in tackles with 20, while J.J. Sanders provides a fierce pass rush with 3.5 TFL and a pair of sacks. In the secondary, Manny Abad leads the way with a GSC-high five pass breakups.
In addition to the live broadcast, fans can listen to Jerry Durney and Paul Van Scott call the game on WFIT 89.5 FM. The radio broadcast can also be heard on WFIT.org and through the free TuneIn Radio app.
Additional links to live coverage can be found at FloridaTechSports.com.