LISTEN LIVE: Florida Tech Looks to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive Tonight Against Rival Valdosta State
By Daniel Supraner, Florida Tech Sports // October 28, 2017
Loser likely out of playoff chase
ABOVE VIDEO: The Space Coast Daily FNLR FIT Panther Kickoff Show. Alan Zlotorzynzki , Steve Wilson and Orville Susong are live from Valdosta, Georgia, with a preview of the Panthers and Blazers.
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Be sure to catch Alan Zlotorzynski, Steve Wilson and Orville Susong for the Space Coast Daily Florida Tech Panther Kickoff Show presented by Old School Pizza, Buffalo Wild Wings, Prestige Title and PT Professionals.
VALDOSTA, GEORGIA — After a tough stretch to the season that saw the Panthers lose two in a row, Florida Tech has pieced together a pair of impressive victories and now appears to be firing on all cylinders heading into a key Gulf South Conference showdown with Valdosta State tonight in Valdosta, Georgia.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.
ABOUT THE MATCHUP
The Panthers and Blazers are each 3-2 in conference play and sit in a four-way tie for fourth in the GSC standings. FIT is 5-3 overall and VSU holds a .500 record at 3-3 this season. Both teams are riding two-game win streaks.
Valdosta State is 3-1 all-time in the series with Florida Tech. However, the Panthers earned their first ever victory over VSU last season, 38-20, in Melbourne.
The game was hotly contested as Florida Tech did not appreciate the lack of respect from Valdosta before the game started. With no explanation ever given, the Blazers refused to shake the Panthers hands during the coin toss, infuriating Florida Tech.
The Blazers defeated the Crimson and Gray, 39-21, the last time the teams met at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in a game that prevented the Panthers from winning their first ever GSC Title.
ABOUT FLORIDA TECH
Florida Tech is coming off a 41-39 upset of No. 18 West Alabama last Saturday. The Panthers are 3-0 this season when scoring 40 or more points in a game. FIT outgained the GSC-leading Tigers 486-463.
For the second week in a row, Mark Cato produced a Player of the Week performance, finishing with 345 yards passing and three total touchdowns against the Tigers. Over the last two weeks, Cato has passed for 681 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for two more scores, including the game-winner against UWA.
Mason Wilfong broke out for 106 receiving yards on four catches against the Tigers, both season-highs, while Jaaron Barrett and Kevin Purlett each hauled in a touchdown catch. Antwuan Haynes averaged 5.6 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns against UWA. Haynes continues to lead the GSC with 873 rushing yards.
The Panther defense caused a season-best three turnovers against the Tigers last Saturday, including a fumble return touchdown by Patrick Banks in the fourth quarter.
Adonis Davis remains the leader in both tackles for loss (14.0) and sacks (6.0) in the GSC. However, he may find it difficult to continue his dominance this weekend against a VSU offense that has given up a league-low nine sacks. J.T. Hassell is the top tackler for the Panthers with 39.5 over the eight games, while freshman Evan Thompson has grown into his starting role at mike linebacker, recording 11.5 tackles the last two weeks.
ABOVE VIDEO: The game was hotly contested as Florida Tech did not appreciate the lack of respect from Valdosta before the game started. With no explanation ever given, the Blazers refused to shake the Panthers hands during the coin toss, infuriating Florida Tech.
ABOUT VALDOSTA STATE
VSU picked up a 34-13 win over No. 19 Delta State on the road last Saturday. The Blazers finished with 399 yards of offense compared to 304 from DSU. Valdosta State forced four Statesmen turnovers, including a 95-yard fumble return to start the game.
Rogan Wells completed 15-of-29 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown. The freshman quarterback added 45 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Wells is the top rusher for the Blazers this season, averaging 48.7 yards per game. Jordan Germany led VSU on the ground against Delta State, recording 77 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Brian Saunds registered three receptions for 61 yards and the only VSU receiving touchdown.
Sharmaine Washington guided the VSU defense with 10 tackles against DSU, and ranks seventh in the GSC in tackles this season with 45. His teammate, Malik Slater, boasts the second most tackles in the league at 50.
Jerry Durney and Paul Van Scott will have the call from Bazemore-Hyder Stadium on 89.5 FM WFIT and WFIT.org. Links to live coverage for Saturday’s game can be accessed at FloridaTechSports.com and quarter reports will be delivered on Space Coast Daily TV.
The Space Coast Daily Florida Tech Panther Post Game Show will follow the contest on Space Coast Daily TV.
Orville Susong: Florida Tech 24, Valdosta 20
Steve Wilson: Valdosta 34, Florida Tech 28
Alan Zlotorzynski: Florida Tech 37, Valdosta 24
ABOVE VIDEO: After a tough stretch to the season that saw the Panthers lose two in a row, Florida Tech has pieced together a pair of impressive victories and now appears to be firing on all cylinders heading into a key Gulf South Conference showdown with Valdosta State tonight in Valdosta, Georgia.
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