GAME PREVIEW: Florida Tech Panthers Look To Get Back To Winning Ways Vs. Fort Valley State Saturday

By  //  October 15, 2016

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first home game since september 10, homecoming

ABOVE VIDEO: During this week’s Space Coast Daily “Coffee with Coach,” Steve Englehart discusses how not to overlook an opponent, and how he’s keeping his Panthers focused on going 1-0 each week.

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Following an unexpected bye week, thanks to Hurricane Matthew, the Florida Tech (4-1, 2-1 GSC) Panthers return home for this first since September 10, as they host the Fort Valley State University Wildacts (1-5, 1-3 SIAC) .

Despite having a week off and coming off an upset loss two weeks ago to first year program West Florida, the Panthers gained spots in several polls this week.

Florida Tech regained some footing in the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Poll, jumping up from No. 23 to No. 20. And after falling to No. 11 after the loss to West Florida two weeks ago, Florida Tech climbed back into the Top 10 in the Hero Sports Division II Football Rankings, coming in at No. 10.

FIT is joined in the rankings by fellow GSC members North Alabama (4), West Georgia (6) and Valdosta State (7).

NO MAKEUP

The lost game to North Alabama could hurt the Panthers chances of capturing their first ever Gulf South Conference title. The Panthers are currently 2-1 in GSC play with four conference games to play.

Four other teams currently have just one loss while North Alabama, the team that figures to be the toughest to overtake is 3-0 in GSC play.

Thanks to the cancellation, the Panthers now have no shot to play them head to head and will play one less GSC game which could come back and hurt their chances if one or two teams finish with one loss or if N. Alabama runs the table.

One loss in seven conference games as opposed to one loss in eight conference games played gives the winning percentage edge to the team that played the full conference schedule.

While many chalked the loss to the University of West Florida as a bump in the road of a successful season, a cancled conference game now makes that loss looks more like a sink hole to the Panthers chances of a GSC title.

Speaking with head coach Steve Englehart in Space Coast Daily’s weekly “Coffee with Coach” segment, Englehart reiterated that he’s making sure his team worries only about what they can control – going 1-0 each week for the rest of the season.

ABOVE VIDEO: During Tuesday’s edition of “Coffe with Coach,” Head coach Steve Englehart reflects on Hurricane Matthew, reviewing the halfway point of the season and a look-ahead to Saturday’s home-matchup with Fort Valley State.

GAME NOTES FORT VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY WILDCATS

KNACK FOR THE FORCED FUMBLE; Defensive Lineman Adonis Davis has proven that he he is constantly on the lookout for the opportunity to poke the ball loose. The Iowa Western Community College transfer ranks fourth in Division II in forced fumbles at 0.60 per game.

GOOD ON BOTH SIDES: Florida Tech has proven to not only have a high scoring offense, but also an extremely stingy defense. The Panthers rank third the GSC in scoring offense at 38.0 points per game and first in scoring defense at 15.4 points per.

AIRING IT OUT: While Florida Tech hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire with its passing game to this point in 2016, when signal caller Mark Cato does let it go he goes big. The redshirt-junior ranks 7th in the nation in passing yards per completion at a 16.38 clip, most in the GSC. Cato’s favorite target, Kenny Johnston, is 6th in D2 in yards per reception at 25.37, leading the conference.

ABOVE VIDEO: Florida Tech’s junior QB Mark Cato discusses various topics following the unexpected bye week due to Hurricane Matthew. Cato talks chemistry his wide receiving core, improvements and team goals for this season.

BEND DON’T BREAK: Florida Tech leads NCAA Division II in red zone defense, allowing a score just 40 percent of the time when its opponent gets inside the 20-yard line. Panther opponents have scored just six times in 15 appearances in the red zone.

UNDISCIPLINED MISTAKES: If there is one area Florida Tech really needs to work on as the season goes on it’s committing penalties. The Panthers have racked up the most penalties per game in the GSC with 10.3 per contest.

THIS WEEK’S MATCHUP: Fort Valley State Wildcats (1-5, 1-3 SIAC) at #20 Florida Tech Panthers (4-1, 2-1 Gulf South) Saturday, October 15 | 1:00 p.m. ET / FL Tech Panther Stadium | Melbourne, Fla.

Series Record: …………………………………………………Florida Tech leads 1-0

Last Meeting: ……………………………………………… @FVSU 7, FIT 34 (2015)

Fort Valley State’s Last Game: ………………. Lost to Kentucky State, 26-10

Florida Tech’s Last Game: ………………………… Lost to West Florida, 42-39

GAME BREAKDOWN

Florida Tech is coming off of its lone loss of the season, a three-point defeat at the hands of in-state rival West Florida, and an unexpected week off after the cancellation of a game against UNA due to Hurricane Matthew.

Florida Tech will take its final break from conference action this week against FVSU. Mark Cato is second in the league in passing yards per game (262.6) and tied for second in touchdown passes (11).

The defense for Florida Tech is the best in the GSC in terms of points allowed, with opponents averaging just 15.4 points in each contest.

FVSU’s Otis Brown leads the SIAC in receiving touchdowns, hauling in eight scores this year

brown-otis-580

Florida Tech’s secondary will need to watch FVSTU wide receiver Otis Brown. Brown leads the team with 21 receptions for 237 yards, and he has six touchdowns (FVSU image)

WILDCATS BY THE NUMBERS

Offensive Leaders

Rushing: Jamari Clark (292 yds, 5.2 avg, 0 TDs)

Passing: Domontay Jones (884 yds, 147.3 avg/g, 8 TDs)

Receiving: Otis Brown (21 rec, 237 yds, 6 TDs)

Defensive Leaders

Tackles: Kentron James (DB, 23 solo, 19 ast, 5.5 TFL, 14 yds)

Sacks: Aaron Singfield-Henderson (LB, 3.0 sacks/21 yds)

Interceptions: Brian Walker (DB, 3 INTs/137 yds

PANTHERS BY THE NUMBERS

Offensive Leaders

Rushing: Antwuan Haynes (310 yds, 6.7 avg, 3 TDs)

Passing: Mark Cato (1313 yds, 262.6 avg/g, 11 TDs)

Receiving: Kenny Johnston (19 rec, 480 yds, 4 TDs)

VIDEO: No. 20 Florida Tech Eager To Play In Front of Home Crowd Saturday After Hurricane MatthewRelated Story:
VIDEO: No. 20 Florida Tech Eager To Play In Front of Home Crowd Saturday After Hurricane Matthew

Defensive Leaders

Tackles: Chris Stapleton (LB, 18 solo, 13 ast, 2.0 TFL/6 yds)

Sacks: Adonis Davis (DL, 3.0 sacks/22 yds)

Interceptions: Jo Jackson (DB, 3 INTs/121 yds)

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