Florida Tech Keeps Conference Championship Hopes Alive, Defeats Mississippi 31-14
By Florida Tech // October 25, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – For the first time in program history Florida Tech (5-3, 3-1 GSC) has strung together four consecutive victories after a 31-14 win at Mississippi College (2-5, 0-4 GSC) Saturday afternoon at Robinson-Hale Stadium.
One of the keys to the Panthers’ success was the play of quarterback Mark Cato, who played a hand in all four of FIT’s touchdowns.
The redshirt-sophomore signal caller finished with 255 yards and three scores though the air on 22-of-32 passing, while chipping in 78 yards and a trip for six on the ground.
“He did a good job and we are proud of him,” said head coach Steve Englehart.
“We put a lot on him this week. We asked him to know a lot of different checks and things like that. He had to get us out of some plays and into some different ones… Then they came out and lined up totally differently from what we’ve been expecting with a lot of four man line stuff. So, we had to make some adjustments from the sideline and change some things. I thought he played a really good game.”
The Panthers got off to a quick start, driving right down the field and chewing up a third of the first quarter on the game’s first possession. Cato capped the 10 play, 72 yard drive with a one-yard plunge into the end zone.
After a perfect pooch punt gave FIT the ball on its own one-yard line, Cato led a drive the full length of the field, culminating with a four-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Lowder.
Drake Hillman added a 40-yard field goal after the Choctaws answered with a score to give FIT a 17-7 halftime advantage.
Kenny Johnston owned the second half, hauling in touchdown passes of 24 and 36 yards, respectively, to put the game out of reach. MC got back on the board on an 11 yard screen pass from Walker Meadows to Marcel Newson with 6:55 left in the game but by then the contest was well in hand for the Panthers.
Johnston ended up with 77 yards receiving on three catches. Lowder came up just short of the team-high in receiving yards, hauling in seven passes for 76 yards. In total, five Panthers caught at least three passes.
For the third straight game FIT outgained its opponent, outmatching the Choctaws 433-to-311. The Panthers outrushed Mississippi College 189-to-141, while outgaining MC 255-194 through the air.
The FIT defense gave up its share of yards but came up big when it mattered most, keeping the Choctaws off the scoreboard for the most part.
Demetrius Allen paced the team with eight tackles, all solo. As per usual, J.J. Sanders wreaked havoc in the backfield, registering 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
Aneus Sangster forced the lone fumble for the Panthers, while Leo Alba II tallied a pair of pass breakups and Nate McDowell added another.
Meadows ended his day 13-of-24 for 194 yards and a score. His favorite target by far was Newson, who seemed to catch everything thrown his way. Newson totaled seven receptions for a game-high 145 yards.
The Choctaw defense was led by D’Andre Coleman, Reggie Bennett, and Rondaius Johnson, who each notched six total tackles. Carl Rainey Jr. was a menace, recording 2.5 TFLs, including 1.5 sacks.
Following a two-game road stint, Florida Tech returns home to Florida Tech Panther Stadium on Halloween night, Oct. 31. The Panthers will look to ground the Hawks of Shorter at 7 p.m. ET.
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 additional coverage will be available at FloridaTechSports.com/live.
GULF SOUTH CONFERENCE STANDINGS