Football team hosts Eastern Illinois with Golden Eagles in thick of OVC title race

Despite a heartbreaking loss last week at Samford, the Golden Eagle football team remains in the hunt for the Ohio Valley Conference championships and faces a crucial test Saturday afternoon in its Homecoming game. Tech hosts Eastern Illinois, one of five teams still seeking the OVC championship, with kickoff at 2 p.m.

The Union Planters Tailgate park opens at 11 a.m. adjacent to Tucker Stadium, with live music and a kids zone. All Homecoming activities that usually take place in Sherlock Park have been moved to the Tailgate Park.

The third spectacular fireworks display, postponed from the last game due to rain, will follow the game.

The Golden Eagles feature the top-ranked defense in the OVC, but face a real challenge against the EIU Panthers, who have won four years in a row over Tech. EIU is led by senior quarterback Matt Schabert (not the 2003 TTU grad by the same name, but distantly related to SID Rob Schabert), a transfer from the University of Wisconsin who has earned the league’s Newcomer of the Week award three times this season.

Tech brings a 5-3 overall record into the game, including a 2-2 record in OVC games. If the Golden Eagles can win their remaining three games, and if Jacksonville State loses once (perhaps Saturday against Samford?), then Tech would finish no worse than co-champions.

“Mathematically, we still have a chance to win the conference championship if we win our three remaining games, so that is our goal,” said senior linebacker Brett Vavra, a nominee for Academic All-America.

“We’re concentrating on our Homecoming game with Eastern Illinois, and it would be great to have a large, noisy crowd in the stands. We feed off the enthusiasm that comes from the stands. We’ve heard our fans making noise at every home this season, and with this being Homecoming, we’ll really look for that advantage.”

Tickets for the Homecoming game will be available at the ticket booths at Tucker Stadium beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon.