WATCH LIVE: Florida Tech Panthers Host Shorter Hawks Tonight At 7 p.m.
By Florida Tech // October 31, 2015
Jerry Durney and Paul Van Scott on the call
Shorter Hawks Visit Florida Tech Panthers Tonight At 7 p.m.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Coming off a successful two-game road stint in which the Panthers secured wins over Fort Valley State and Mississippi College, Florida Tech (5-3, 3-1 GSC) returns to Florida Tech Panther Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET to face Shorter (2-5, 1-3 GSC).
Running the difficult to prepare for triple-option offense, the Hawks boast one of the most successful run games, not only in the Gulf South Conference, but in the entire country. Shorter averages a staggering 299.6 yards per game on the ground, ranking seventh in all of Division II.
That rushing attack is led by fullback B.J. McCoy, who tops the conference in rushing yards per game at a 155.1 clip. McCoy has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard milestone for the season, racking up 1,086 rushing yards.
Attempting less than 10 passes per game, the aerial aspect of the Hawks’ offense is obviously not a focal point. SU averages just 68.6 yards per game through the air.
Despite a showdown against current No. 1 ranked West Georgia on tap next week, head coach Steve Englehart and the Panthers aren’t overlooking this week’s opponent.
“Shorter is a really good football team,” he said.
“Their record is not an indication of how good they are and how well they have played this year. On offense they are a strictly flex-bone, triple-option team and it is so tough to defend because you can’t simulate it in practice. Defensively they run a 3-3 stack and they do a lot of different things out of it.”
The defensive side of the ball is the complete opposite case. Shorter ranks second in the GSC in pass defense at 145.6 yards per game but are the worst run defense in the conference statistically, allowing an average of 222.9 per contest.
Linebacker Zach Butts is among the best in the conference, leading the GSC in tackles at an even 70, 10 per game. Trevaris Horton is one the GSC’s elite pass rushers, having accumulated four sacks for a tie for fourth.
Last week, Florida Tech extended its winning streak to a program-best four games with a 31-14 victory over the Choctaws of Mississippi College.
Mark Cato put together arguably his best performance of the year, completing 22-of-32 passes for 255 yards and three scores through the air, while also adding 78 yards and a score on the ground.
Kenny Johnston continued his breakout season, hauling in three catches for 77 yards and a pair of touchdowns. T.J. Lowder put together his usual steady performance with 76 yards on seven passes.
Demetrius Allen led the defensive unit with eight tackles, all of which were solo stops. J.J. Sanders wreaked havoc in the backfield, accumulating 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Sanders was honored as the GSC Defensive Player of the Week for the effort.
Shorter will likely come into Melbourne looking for revenge as the Hawks have lost to the Panthers in heart-breaking fashion each of the last two seasons. In 2013, FIT out-scored Shorter 21-0 in the fourth quarter to erase a 17 point deficit and shock the Hawks for the Panthers’ first-ever GSC win. The following year, Xavier Milton hauled in a 41-yard Hail Mary heave as the clock hit zeroes to give FIT a 34-30 victory.
Jerry Durney and Paul Van Scott will call a radio broadcast of the game, which will be available on 89.5 FM WFIT, at WFIT.org and through the free TuneIn Radio app.
Links to live coverage, including live video and stats, can be accessed at FloridaTechSports.com.