WATCH LIVE: Florida Tech Looks To Continue Season Momentum At Mississippi College
By Florida Tech // October 24, 2015
4 P.M. KICKOFF LOCAL TIME
Florida Tech Looks To Continue Season Momentum At Mississippi College, 4 p.m. Kickoff
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Over the past three weeks things have been looking up for Florida Tech (4-3, 2-1 GSC), having notched wins in its past three games. The Panthers hope to keep the good times rolling on Saturday against Gulf South Conference opponent Mississippi College (2-4, 0-3 GSC).
Kickoff at Robinson-Hale Stadium in Clinton, Mississippi is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET. It will be the first trip to MC’s campus for the Panthers, who are 1-0 in the Magnolia State this season.
With last season’s 44-9 Homecoming win in mind, it wouldn’t be difficult to look past the Choctaws. However, head coach Steve Englehart is fully aware that this year’s version of the Mississippi College team is a much improved one.
“This is the second year that they have been back at Division II and have scholarships,” he said.
“They have brought in a lot of players and are a totally different team than they were a year ago. They are doing some really good things on offense. Defensively, they run a 3-3 stack, which we have seen this year. We have our work cut out for us.”
The Choctaws are averaging 25.0 points per game, while allowing an average of 29.0 points on the scoreboard to their opponents, compared to marks of 14.8 and 41.5 from a season ago, respectively.
MC has also experienced an uptick in production from both components of its offense. The team is averaging 214.2 rushing yards per game, up from 171.9 in 2014. A slight increase in passing production has been evident as well, up to 81.67 per game from 71.2.
The other side of the ball has also improved significantly from a statistical standpoint. MC’s average rushing yards allowed per game has dropped from 273.1 to 197.2, while the passing average has fallen from 248.0 to 208.83.
Quarterback Kyle Smith leads the Choctaws in rushing with 314 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while also completing 24-of-47 passes for 391 yards and five scores. Marcel Newsome paces MC with 262 yards and five touchdowns receiving.
Mike Hall spearheads the defensive unit with 32 total tackles, including a pair behind the line of scrimmage. JaQarius Scott has registered the most tackles for loss among Choctaw players with 3.5. Meanwhile, Lazarus Shelby is the only MC player with multiple sacks, tallying a pair.
The Choctaws have lost each of their last three games, including a 34-7 defeat at Valdosta State a week ago. MC was outgained 476-205 in the contest, scoring its lone points of the game with a one-yard touchdown run from Chris Ingram early in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers are hot off of a 34-7 thumping of Fort Valley State on the road last week. FIT outmatched the Wildcats 477-to-154 in the game, including a 271-to-12 margin in rushing yards.
Gary Holmes led the rushing attack with 85 yards and a pair of scores on just 10 carries. Mark Cato had an up-and-down performance, completing 8-of-19 passes for 187 yards, including four passes to T.J. Lowder for 79 yards. Kenny Johnston added a 71-yard scoring reception.
For the third consecutive game, the Panther defense stood tall. Chris Stapleton led the way with eight total tackles. J.J. Sanders only registered a pair of tackles but made them count, making one tackle for loss and a sack. Nate McDowell made a big impact, recording a fumble recovery and an interception.
Antwuan Haynes entered the Panther record books in the contest, taking a punt back 76 yards to the house for the first punt return for a touchdown in FIT history. For his efforts, Haynes was named GSC Special Teams Player of the Week.
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.
Links to live coverage, including live video and stats, can be accessed at FloridaTechSports.com.