Florida Tech Panthers Football Travels to Delta State for Gulf South Conference Opener
By Daniel Supraner, Florida Tech Sports // September 21, 2019
Florida Tech, Delta State meet on national stage in GSC Game of the Week • Kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m.
CLEVELAND, MISSISSIPPI – Fresh off a second straight last-minute victory over regional rival Newberry, Florida Tech heads into Gulf South Conference play with an undefeated record and a bevy of experience dealing with adversity early in the season.
Fresh off a second straight last-minute victory over regional rival Newberry, Florida Tech heads into Gulf South Conference play with an undefeated record and a bevy of experience dealing with adversity early in the season.
The Panthers will now try to get off to a strong start in Gulf South Conference action when they face the Delta State Statesmen on Saturday at Parker Field-McCool Stadium in Cleveland, Mississippi. Kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Saturday’s contest has been designated as the GSC Game of the Week presented by Mammoth Turf.
The matchup will be live-streamed on ESPN3 and the ESPN App.
This is the first of two scheduled nationally televised games for the Panthers in 2019. The annual Coastal Classic Rivalry game versus West Florida on Oct. 26 has also been tabbed a GSC Game of the Week and will be live broadcasted on ESPN+.
Saturday’s meeting will be the seventh all-time matchup between Florida Tech and Delta State. The teams have split the first six contests, 3-3.
Florida Tech won last year’s meeting at Panther Stadium, 30-12, to even up the series. DSU dominated the last time the two teams met in Cleveland, Ms. defeating the Panthers, 42-20.
The Statesmen are 2-1 on their home field against the Panthers. Florida Tech’s last win at McCool Stadium was a 41-37 upset victory over then-No. 5 Delta State on Oct. 3, 2015.
These two teams have met five times in the GSC Game of the Week with Tech holding a 3-2 edge in those games.
FIGURES TO KNOW
• Florida Tech looks to start the season 3-0 on the road for the first time since the 2016 season.
• The Panthers are 20-18 all-time in road games, including an 8-11 mark against GSC opponents.
• Tech is 3-0 in GSC openers the last three years, and 3-3 all-time to open the conference schedule.
• Florida Tech is 7-6 all-time in GSC Games of the Week, including a 2-5 mark when playing those games on the road.
PANTHERS TAKE DOWN NEWBERRY TO IMPROVE TO 2-0
The Panthers had another nail-biter on their hands when they took on Newberry last week on the road. In what was a back-and-forth game, Tech needed a game-saving pass breakup in the end zone as time expired to preserve its 30-28 victory at Setzler Stadium in Newberry, S.C.
The Crimson & Gray led 30-14 late in the third quarter and had to withstand the Wolves’ furious fourth-quarter rally to move to 2-0.
Trent Chmelik went 11-of-16 for 210 yards a touchdown and an interception while also picking up 65 yards on the ground.
Freshman quarterback Mike Diliello also made his presence felt with 34 yards on 3-of-4 passing. Diliello also racked up 75 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
Daniel Richardson rushed for a career-high 72 yards and a touchdown on 12 touches. Brian Spurgeon also had a career game with four catches for 103 yards, his first 100-yard receiving game.
Defensively, Evan Thompson and Eric Johanning led the way with seven tackles apiece.
MEET THE STATESMEN
Delta State comes into the matchup with a 1-1 record after falling to No. 10 Grand Valley State 28-24 on the road last week. The Statesmen forced three Grand Valley State turnovers in the game and rushed for a season-high 230 yards, including 109 by junior Deion Dampier.
Aryaun Cain-Veasey’s 9-yard touchdown run capped a 21-point second-half comeback for GVSU and sealed the win with 3:34 to play in the fourth quarter. DSU outgained GVSU 343 to 334 yards.
Dampier leads DSU with 156 yards on 34 carries this season. Rico Owens and quarterback Patrick Shegog have also rushed for over 100 yards through two games.
Shegog has gone for 28-of-51 passing with 278 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His favorite wide-out is Jaylen Browder with 67 yards and a touchdown on six catches.
Vada King leads the defensive unit amassing 26 tackles over two games, including 17 solo stops. Junior Faulk has been locking down receivers over the first two weeks and has recorded three interceptions, three pass breakups and seven tackles.
CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS