Antwaun Majors (36) will miss the season’s remainder after injuring his knee during last Saturday’s game against Tennessee State
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Senior safety Antwaun Majors, Austin Peay State University’s leading tackler the past two seasons, will miss the season’s remainder after injuring his knee during last Saturday’s game against Tennessee State.
Majors suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee as well as tearing his medial and lateral meniscus in a sideline injury late in the first half.
The Mt. Juliet native was APSU’s leading tackler over the last two seasons with 84 in 2010 and 88 in 2011 as the Govs’ free safety. He was shifted to strong safety in the spring. Majors led the Governors in tackles against Western Kentucky with 10. He had 208 careers stops.
The fifth-year senior, who came to APSU as a walk-on, graduated in May and came back this fall to compete in his final year of eligibility. At Mt. Juliet High School he twice was named region defensive back of the year and was presented the prestigious Nick Coutras Award as a senior.
“I really hate it for Antwaun, especially with him being a fifth-year guy,” APSU coach Rick Christophel said. “He has been the leader of this defense. He is an exceptional young man who is just a self-made football player.
“We are going to need other guys to step up in his absence and I am confident they will.”
2012 OVC Women’s Soccer Team Notes
AUSTIN PEAY (4-5-0 overall, 0-0-0 OVC): Austin Peay split a pair of home matches last week, falling to South Alabama, 1-0, in double overtime and defeating Alabama A&M, 6-1. Junior Morgan Zigelsky scored a pair of goals in the opening minute against Alabama A&M and also recorded an assist in the match. Junior Tatiana Ariza scored her 30th career goal to move into a tie with Ashley Beck for most career scores in school history. Junior goalkeeper Haylee Shoaff made seven stops and gave up a pair of goals in the 195 minutes of action. Austin Peay will open up OVC play this weekend at home with Murray State on Sunday. The match can be seen on the OVC Digital Network.
BELMONT (4-4-0 overall, 0-0-0 OVC): Belmont dropped a 1-0 contest at Western Kentucky in its only match of the week. Sophomore Taylor Smith notched a shot in the match to move her into third on the team in that category. Sophomore Allison Alcott played 59 minutes and was part of a defense that held Western Kentucky to just one goal. Junior goalkeeper Nicole Berner gave up just one score and made 13 stops. The Bruins will take the week off before playing its first league match as a member of the OVC. Belmont will host Morehead State on Sept. 28.
EASTERN ILLINOIS (2-7-0 overall, 0-0-0 OVC): Eastern Illinois dropped a pair of matches last weekend, falling to Butler, 3-0, and Drake, 1-0. The Panthers have now been shutout in the last three contests. During non-conference play, EIU has scored seven goals while giving up 18. Eastern Illinois opens OVC play this weekend. Head coach Summer Perala is 1-1-1 in league openers and has a 10-10-5 overall record in conference play. The Panthers will travel to SIUE on Sunday.
EASTERN KENTUCKY (4-4-1 overall, 0-0-0 OVC): Eastern Kentucky fell at Xavier, 2-0, before defeating Transylvania, 1-0, at home. Freshman Dani Cant netted her first career goal, scoring the game-winning goal against Transylvania. Senior defender Deja Tennon went the distance against Xavier and played all but six minutes versus Transylvania. She recorded the assist on EKU’s only goal of the week. Freshman goalkeeper Erika Wolfer posted her second shutout of the year in the victory over Transylvania. She made eight saves in the 180 minutes of action, including seven against Transylvania. Eastern Kentucky will open up OVC play this weekend as it hosts Morehead State on Sunday.
JACKSONVILLE STATE (7-2-1 overall, 0-0-0 OVC): Jacksonville State fell to Mercer, 2-1, before defeating Samford, 2-1, to wrap up non-conference play with a 7-2-1 record. The Gamecocks defeated the Bulldogs for the first time since the 2002 season. Sophomore Courtney Hurt leads the team with five goals, including the game-winner in the 84th minute against Samford. Freshman Brianna Boutzouvia netted her fourth goal of the year to tie the Samford game at 1-1. She also assisted on Hurt’s game-winning score against the Bulldogs. Freshman defender Kat Dowd played 171 minutes and recorded the assist on the game-tying goal versus Samford. Junior goalkeeper, Katelyn Geddings allowed just one goal and made nine saves in 135 minutes in net. Jacksonville State opens up OVC play on Sunday at Tennessee Tech.
MOREHEAD STATE (0-7-1 overall, 0-0-0 OVC): Morehead State dropped a 2-0 contest at Wright State in its only match of the week. Freshman goalkeeper Elizabeth Floyd made six saves in the contest. Sophomore Elizabeth McSparin led the team with two shots. Morehead State will travel to Eastern Kentucky on Sunday to kick off conference play.
MURRAY STATE (2-5-0 overall, 0-0-0 OVC ): Murray State picked up its first two wins of the season last weekend as it defeated Alabama A&M, 5-0, and South Alabama, 1-0. Senior Veronika Pribyslavska recorded the ninth hat trick in school history in the win over Alabama A&M. The Racers scored four second half goals against the Bulldogs. Freshman Taylor Stevens scored the game-winning goal against South Alabama just 1.3 seconds into the first overtime. Freshman defender Halle Pinkham led the Racer defense that didn’t allow a single goal over two matches. She went the distance in both matches. Freshman goalkeeper Latesha Stevenson picked up her first two career shutouts last week as she made seven saves and didn’t allow a goal in 190 minutes of action. Murray State will open up OVC play as it travels to Austin Peay on Sunday.
SOUTHEAST MISSOURI (1-6-2 overall, 0-0-0 OVC): Southeast Missouri played to a scoreless draw with Evansville and fell to Memphis, 5-0, last week. Senior goalkeeper Renee Kertz did not give up a goal and made six saves in her 126:43 minutes of action. She earned her second shutout of the year in the scoreless tie with Evansville. Senior Hayley Abbott started her 64th match over the weekend, she is now five behind Nikki Edwards’ school record of 69. The Redhawks will open up OVC play at home on Friday, hosting UT Martin and will also entertain non-conference foe Louisiana Tech on Sunday.
SIUE (3-3-1 overall. 0-0-0 OVC): SIUE fell to Saint Louis, 1-0, in its only match last week. It marked the first time in four matches that the Cougars recorded a loss. SIUE will open up OVC action this week as it hosts Eastern Illinois on Sunday.
TENNESSEE TECH (2-5-1 overall, 0-0-0 OVC): Tennessee Tech’s only match of the week with Lipscomb was cancelled due to heavy rains in the Nashville area. The Golden Eagles will return to the field this weekend as they open up league play at home with Jacksonville State on Sunday.
UT MARTIN (3-4-2 overall, 0-0-0 OVC): UT Martin played to a 1-1 draw with Georgia State and defeated Kennesaw State, 2-0. The Skyhawks haven’t lost a match since Sept. 7 going 2-0-1 during that span. Sophomore Dominka Conc scored the game-tying goal in the 87th minute versus Georgia State. She also provided the assist on the game-winning score versus Kennesaw State. Senior defender Amy Maksimowicz logged 183 minutes out of a possible 200 for the Skyhawks over the weekend. She was part of the defense that gave up just one goal over two matches. Sophomore goalkeeper Mariah Klenke gave up just one goal and made eight saves in the 200 minutes of action. She made six saves in the shutout of Kennesaw State. Freshman Saphyra Coombs-James had a goal and an assist over the weekend, giving her three goals in eight matches. UT Martin will open up OVC play this weekend as it travels to Southeast Missouri on Friday.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
UT Martin at Southeast Missouri* – 6:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Louisiana Tech at Southeast Missouri – 12 p.m.
Morehead State at Eastern Kentucky* – 12 p.m.
Eastern Illinois at SIUE* – 1 p.m.
Jacksonville State at Tennessee Tech* – 1 p.m.
Murray State at Austin Peay* – 2 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
* – OVC game
ALL TIMES CENTRAL
adidas® OVC Players of the Week- Sept. 18
Veronika Pribyslavaska, M/G, 5’9, Sr., Prague, Czech Republic – Murray State
Pribyslavaska recorded the ninth hat trick in Murray State history in the Racers’ 5-0 win over Alabama A&M. The win was Murray State’s first of the season. She led the team with 12 shots, including six on goal over the two matches.
Other Nominated: Morgan Zigelsky, Austin Peay; Taylor Smith, Belmont; Dani Cant, Eastern Kentucky; Brianna Boutziouva, Jacksonville State; Dominika Conc, UT Martin
Halle Pinkham, D, 5’5, Fr., Elizabethtown, Ky. – Murray State
Pinkham led a Racer defense that didn’t give up a goal over two matches last weekend and allowed just one shot total against Alabama A&M. In the two games, the Racers allowed just eight corner kicks. Pinkham went the distance in both matches.
Others Nominated: Allison Alcott, Belmont; Deja Tennon, Eastern Kentucky; Kat Dowd, Jacksonville State; Amy Maksimowicz, UT Martin
Latesha Stevenson, GK, 5’7, Fr., Benton, Ky. – Murray State
Stevenson recorded her first two shutouts of her career last week as the Racers went 2-0. She did not allow a goal in 190 minutes of actions. Stevenson made seven saves in the 1-0 overtime victory over South Alabama.
Others Nominated: Haylee Shaoff, Austin Peay; Erika Wolfer, Eastern Kentucky; Katelyn Geddings, Jacksonville State; Renee Kertz, Southeast Missouri; Mariah Klenke, UT Martin
Last Saturday’s action featured the first Conference game of the season as Tennessee State topped Austin Peay 34-14 to improve to 3-0 overall on the season (its best start since 2008).
The game was the first played on-campus at Hale Stadium since the 1998 season for the Tigers and was played in front of 14,264 fans..
In other action OVC teams were 2-2 against fellow Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools, with Eastern Kentucky and Murray State winning road games and Eastern Illinois (losing by three points in double overtime) and Southeast Missouri losing on the road. OVC schools are now 9-3 this season against FCS opponents.
For EKU, it was the team’s first non-conference road victory since the 2002 season, breaking a string of eight-straight losses.
This week nationally-ranked EKU will host nationally-ranked Jacksonville State in the OVC openers for both teams on Saturday; the Colonels enter the week No. 21 in the Sports Network poll (23rd in the FCS Coaches Poll) while Jacksonville State is No. 24 in the FCS Coaches Poll.
Those two teams were picked first and second in the OVC preseason poll and are the winningest teams in OVC play over the last decade (EKU has won 55 Conference games and JSU 54 Conference games over that time period).
In other action this week UT Martin is at Austin Peay, Tennessee Tech travels to Southeast Missouri and Murray State plays at Eastern Illinois.
This Week’s Schedule
Saturday, September 22
Tennessee State at Bethune-Cookman, 3:00 p.m.
*#24 Jacksonville State at #21 Eastern Kentucky, 5:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
*UT Martin at Austin Peay, 6:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
*Tennessee Tech at Southeast Missouri, 6:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
*Murray State at Eastern Illinois, 6:30 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
adidas® OVC Players of the Week
Michael German, QB • So., 6-2, 215 • Pompano Beach, Fla. • Tennessee State
German completed 27-of-36 passes for a career-high 318 yards and three touchdowns in Tennessee State’s 34-14 victory over Austin Peay on Saturday. The 27 completions was also a career-high for the sophomore, while the three touchdown passes equaled his career-best set last season against UT Martin. German completed a 27-yard pass for a touchdown in the second quarter, a four-yard touchdown pass to begin the fourth quarter and ended the game with a 51-yard strike with 2:12 to play to account for the final margin. The game was the first played at Hale Stadium on the TSU campus since the 1998 season. German’s performance helped TSU to a 3-0 start to the season for the first time since 2008. German currently ranks 23rd nationally in passing efficiency (142.19) and 30th in total offense (236.33 yards/game).
Others Nominated: Devin Stark, Austin Peay; Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois; Matt Denham, Eastern Kentucky; Casey Brockman, Murray State; DJ McNeil, UT Martin.
Brandon Wicks, FS • Jr., 5-11, 200 • Murray, Ky. • Murray State
Wicks totaled a team-high 10 tackles and made an interception that ended the game in Murray State’s 28-23 road victory over Missouri State on Saturday night. With the Bears driving Wicks picked off a pass at the Racers 37-yard line with 41 seconds to go to preserve the team’s first win of the season. Wicks had five solo and five assisted tackles in the game with one of those going as a tackle-for-loss.
Others Nominated: Robert Haynes, Eastern Illinois; Justin Bell, Eastern Kentucky; Blake Peiffer, Southeast Missouri; Steven Godbolt III, Tennessee State; Tra’Darius Goff, Tennessee Tech; Ben Johnson, UT Martin.
Cameron Berra, K • Jr., 5-11, 203 • St. Louis, Mo. • Eastern Illinois
Berra was perfect on Saturday afternoon, connecting on 3-of-3 field goal attempts and 6-of-6 point after attempts in Eastern Illinois’ 54-51 double overtime loss at No. 15 Illinois State. The junior scored 15 total points and hit on field goals of 44, 20 and 40 yards for the Panthers. Berra closed the first half with a career-long 44-yard field goal to give EIU a 17-14 halftime advantage. He added a 20-yard field goal as regulation time expired to force overtime and connected from 40 yards out in the second overtime period. The three field goals moved Berra into seventh place on the Eastern Illinois career field goals made list (18). The junior currently ranks second in the OVC and 40th nationally in scoring (8.33 points/game).
Others Nominated: Steven Mix, Murray State; Joe Vucic, Southeast Missouri; Jamin Godfrey, Tennessee State; Chad Zinchini, Tennessee Tech.
Jaamal Berry, RB • Jr., 5-11, 200 • Miami, Fla. • Murray State
Making his Murray State debut, Berry, the transfer from Ohio State, carried the ball eight times for 41 yards and caught four passes for 44 yards including the game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter of the Racers 28-23 road win over Missouri State. More than half of Berry’s 12 touches went for first downs including his touchdown catch and run that came on a third and nine and helped capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive for the Racers.
Others Nominated: LeQuince McCall, Eastern Illinois; Deshaun Sands, Eastern Kentucky; A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State; Chad Zinchini, Tennessee Tech.
LEDBETTER, Ky. – Austin Peay State University women’s golf team battled windy conditions but still managed to shoot a 315 Tuesday in the final round of the Drake Creek Invitational, played at the Drake Creek Golf Club.
Even though the Lady Govs final round was the fourth best score of the day, they still couldn’t move up, ending the day in seventh place-the same place they started Tuesday-with a three-round total of 934 (310-309-315).
The 934 was one stroke better than last week’s GolfWeek Program Challenge and the third-best 54-hole scoring in University history.
Central Arkansas won the 54-hole event with a 906, following by Arkansas State (911). Belmont was third (919), followed by Columbia (922), Southern Illinois (927) and host Murray State (929).
“The wind affected some of the players by three clubs,” APSU interim coach Chelsea Harris said. “We held it together and played pretty well.
“We had a lot of up and downs today. We stayed away from the high numbers.”
Senior Lauren Bond continued her consistent play, shooting a final-round 76 for a 226 (76-74-76) total and a seventh-place tie. She was strong on the par 5s, playing just 1-over during the two days. Bond tied for the tourney best with 10 birdies.
The day’s best round, however, came from Tala Mumford, who hails from just up the road in Metropolis, Ill. The junior shot a 75 for a 228 three-round total, good enough for 12th. Like Bond, Mumford was solid on the par 5s, shooting just 2-over, while also ranking tied for eighth in birdies with six.
But that duo was the only Lady Govs to break 80 on Tuesday. Both seniors Tabitha Beard (80-82-82=244)-the winds especially affected the Centerville native-and Holly Batey (84-78-82=244) each had 82s while Jessica Cathey (80-78-83) finished her second career tourney with 241, tying her for 31st.
The Lady Govs now will have nearly a month’s break before resuming competition on Oct. 15-16 when they play host to the F&M Bank APSU Intercollegiate at the Clarksville Country Club.
“We are hitting the ball so good right now,” Harris said. “Of course we are going to have some miss-hits, but it is six feet on in where we are having our problems-that is the area we need to improve most.
“We did better today-we missed 15 3-footers yesterday. Come Friday we are going to be working four hours on our short game.”
The Braves swept the Nats!
Before we start popping champagne corks and declare Freddie Freeman the NLCS MVP, it should be noted that the Nationals have elected to go the rest of the way without Stephen Strasburg (just in case you’ve been vacationing in Malaysia or awoke from a coma). While that’s certainly not the reason the Braves swept – that would be the Nats across-the-board lack of urgency and the fact that Mike Minor turned into Steve Carlton two months ago – the Nats seemed a different team over the weekend. Losing your ace, especially for a semi-defensible if insulting reason like ‘We’re just worried about his arm and don’t want to blow it out’, takes a bit of the hop out of your step. But that’s their business; what’s it to the Braves if Washington wants to gamble the next dozen years on Strasburg? He could blow his arm out throwing a bullpen session next spring or he could throw 225 innings for the next decade.
But there’s something about having a guy that can stomp out there and fire bullets for six or seven innings every five days. For lack of a better term, it gets your swagger up. The Nats had a preposterously high swagger level with Strasburg; they thought (rightfully, most of the time) that having Strasburg gave them a better chance than it gave anyone else. It’s not that Strasburg is unhittable, because if his breaking stuff isn’t working it seems like teams eventually get around on his fastball; it’s that other teams step into the box thinking, “If this guy has his best stuff, I am completely and hopelessly screwed for the rest of the day.”
That’s the highest compliment I feel like you can give a pitcher. There are only a few guys (Strasburg, Verlander, Felix and, right now, Kris Medlen) that give off that aura of invincibility when they take the ball. And Washington just decided to shut one of those guys down for the rest of the season.
The Nats are beatable; they are by no means push-overs. Gio Gonzalez still has 19 wins, Jordan Zimmermann and Edwin Jackson are still going to be tough to see twice in a seven-game series and nobody is confusing Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen with Heathcliff Slocumb and Norm Charlton (shout out to anybody that followed the Mariners back in the 90s). Throw in that potent offense and you suddenly remember that this team kicked the snot out of the National League East for most of the year.
None of it mattered over the weekend though. Medlen threw BB’s again (career-high 13 strike outs) and Craig Kimbrel got the save on Friday before Eric O’Flaherty (where’s he been?) came on in relief for the Saturday win; Kimbrel got the save in that one and has started picking up a bit more steam for an NL Cy Young Award run. Then there was Minor, who has ONE START of more than three earned runs allowed since July 1. Remember when everyone (me included) wanted to run this guy out of town? He spent the first two months of the season getting kicked around like a drunk’s dog, but he’s gotten hot at the right time.
Enjoyable as the weekend was, the race is not yet over. While the Braves have to feel good about the Wild Card, it would be nice to not have to worry about that one-game play-in, winner take all and loser go home. Ask anyone in that locker room; to a man, I’m betting they would rather have a seven-game series than a one-game crapshoot. The Twins beat the Rangers every once in a while, you know.
And Down the Stretch They Come!
We’ve covered the Nats (89-57). The Reds have essentially locked up the NL Central; at 88-59, they’re 11 games up on St. Louis (77-70). The Cardinals (3-7 in their last 10 games) have faded far enough back into the pack that the Dodgers (76-71), Milwaukee (74-72), Pittsburgh (74-72), Philadelphia (74-74) and even Arizona (72-74) are back in the race for the second wild card spot.
It looks like the Giants (minus Cheating Cheater Melky Cabrera) will hold on for the NL West crown; they’re eight up on Los Angeles and 11.5 ahead of Arizona with 15 to play.
The Braves (85-63) have to feel excellent about their chances for the top wild-card spot; they’re seven and a half games ahead on Tuesday morning. If the one-game wild card scenario plays out, I rank the possible opponents in terms of who would be better to play like this:
- Arizona – Whatever
- Pittsburgh – No play-off experience, no top-flight starter that scares me in a one-game situation. If the Braves take care of business in the last series of the year, this ceases to matter.
- St. Louis – Fading fast, bad road team, no more LaRussa or Pujols to save their butts. The return of Chris Carpenter has me a little on edge, but the guy that sat out most of the season isn’t one I’m scared of in a one-game set.
- Milwaukee – An absolutely horrible road team, but did just sweep our Tomahawked Heroes.
- Philadelphia – These guys were dead a month ago; beware the late-charging team.
- Los Angeles – Since they’ve decided to become Yankees West, I’d just rather not see them. An All-Star team has a puncher’s chance in any situation. Beer and fried chicken aside, I’d rather not see Josh Beckett in any one-game scenarios.
(Not really an important note, but the only place I can get this off of my chest: The Astros play the Cardinals twice and the Brewers and Pirates one more time down the stretch. If, has been rumored, they go ahead and comply with Roger Clemens’ ridiculous desire to pitch against a contender I hope that whichever team it is tees off on him and wins by 16 runs, even if it gives them an advantage in the Wild Card race. Clemens has besmirched baseball for a solid decade now and the media, or at least ESPN, seems fine with it. I hope he and his frosted tips get eaten by a mountain lion.)
Week In Review
Aside from the destruction of the Nationals, Atlanta was involved in the aforementioned sweep in Milwaukee. At this point in the season, sweeps are no bueno. I’d tell you more, but I honestly don’t want to talk about it. Being shut out by Marco Estrada is not what you want from a team jockeying for play-off position. Norichika Aoki looked like a young Ichiro. Let’s just move on.
The Braves have owned the Marlins, winning 10 of the last 12 meetings this season. No signs of life were apparent at Jeffrey Loria’s Carnival Funhouse Stadium Monday night, and one hopes that continues. This weekend’s meeting with the Phillies, long thought to be little more than a chance for the Phitin’s to play spoiler, now has a little more cache with the Wild Card in sight. That Roy Halladay (10-7) and Cliff Lee (6-7) have struggled this year is immaterial; Saturday and Sunday will be big tests with those two on the mound.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans are approaching their 0-2 start to the season with collective blame for the losses and shared responsibility for making improvements.
Titans coach Mike Munchak said he anticipates each player will handle the disappointment of the team not playing to its full potential in consecutive games differently. The second-year coach said Titans players returned to work Monday with a quiet focus on making improvements.
“I don’t think there’s any one way for guys to deal with it,” Munchak said. “I think the bottom line, what you want, is when they come in here (on Monday), I could hear a pin drop when I walked in this meeting room at one o’clock. They realize the seriousness of it. This is their profession. This is important to them, so when we’re in this building and we’re about to watch tape, you’ve got their full attention. They don’t feel good about it. They get embarrassed by not playing their best, by not playing well.”
The Titans, who lost at the Chargers 38-10 the day before, return to LP Field Sunday to host the Detroit Lions (1-1). Tennessee opened the season with a 34-13 loss to defending AFC Champion New England, then had the long road trip to San Diego, where the franchise hasn’t won a game since 1990, when Munchak was a player for the Houston Oilers.
Instead of chalking it up to two tough draws out of the gate, Munchak said it will be important for players to learn from the mistakes, make a commitment to prevent them from happening again, and most important, figure out ways to execute better during games. He also said he thinks the coaching staff can do better.
“Are we going to come back on Wednesday feeling sorry for ourselves, or are we going to come back Wednesday working harder than we possibly have the last two weeks and get better at the details and the technique, and then on Sunday, find a way to win?,” Munchak said.
Tight end Jared Cook described a “kind of gloomy” mood that was universally accompanied by an attentive attitude among players who wanted to improve. Cook said there is plenty of blame to share, but players and coaches didn’t play a blame game.
“I don’t think it’s somebody. I think it’s just the whole team,” Cook said. “I think, collectively, everybody has to get on the same page and start making things happen offensively. You can’t be a successful team by having one guy doing his job here, one guy doing his job here and a couple of guys not doing their job.
“I think everybody has to work collectively,” Cook continued. “That’s the purpose of a team sport, and we’ve just got to put our heads together, dig down, and make this the best that we can. We’ve still got a lot of games to play.”
Munchak said the Titans’ defense must get off the field by winning third-down plays, and its offense must stay on the field by converting those plays.
San Diego converted 10 of 17 third downs, while Tennessee converted one of nine third downs it faced. The Titans’ conversion Sunday came on a 20-yard scramble by Jake Locker in his second career start. Locker finished 15-of-30 passing for 174 yards and threw an interception on his first pass attempt that helped San Diego build an early 14-0 lead.
The Titans ran 40 offensive plays, compared to 75 offensive plays — including 39 rush attempts — run by the Chargers.
Tennessee went through two separate two-game losing streaks in 2011 but persevered and finished 9-7, narrowly missing the playoffs by a tiebreaker that Cincinnati claimed. The Titans lost at Pittsburgh, then at home against Houston in October and lost at home to New Orleans and at Indianapolis in December before winning their final two games.
Cook said the Titans’ current situation calls for similar gumption.
“It’s just a fact of being resilient and fighting through our woes right now,” Cook said.
NOTES: Munchak said RB Javon Ringer is expected to return to practice this week after missing the first two games with an infection in his elbow. T Mike Otto and DT Sen’Derrick Marks are also likely to be back. The Titans, however, are in wait-and-see mode on LB Colin McCarthy’s status. McCarthy suffered a sprained ankle in the season-opener.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —The Tennessee Titans (0-2) return home this week to face the Detroit Lions (1-1) at LP Field (capacity 69,143). Kickoff is scheduled for noon CDT on Sunday, Sept. 23.
This week’s game will be televised regionally on FOX, including Nashville affiliate WZTV FOX-17. Ron Pitts will handle play-by-play duties while Mike Martz provides analysis. Kristina Pink is the sideline reporter.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, color commentator Frank Wycheck, sideline reporter Cody Allison and gameday host Larry Stone.
The Titans lost their second consecutive game to begin the season last week, falling to the Chargers in San Diego by a final score of 38-10.
Rookie Kendall Wright, the 20th overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, picked up his first career touchdown on a 15-yard strike from Jake Locker. Rob Bironas provided the team’s other score with a 23-yard field goal.
Locker made his second career start despite battling a left shoulder injury suffered in the opener. He completed 15 of 30 passes for 174 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Meanwhile, the Lions traveled to San Francisco last week to appear on Sunday Night Football. They battled the 49ers to the wire only to come up short in a 27-19 loss.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 230 yards in the loss, while wide receiver Calvin Johnson caught eight passes for 94 yards. Jason Hanson provided the majority of Detroit’s scoring with four field goals.
LIONS LED BY FAMILIAR FACE
For the first time, the Titans will face a Lions team led by Jim Schwartz, a Titans assistant coach for 10 seasons (1999–2008) before becoming Detroit’s head coach in 2009.
From 2001 through 2008, Schwartz served as the team’s defensive coordinator. He helped the Titans make four playoff appearances during that time, including a pair of AFC South titles (2002 and 2008). Over the course of his tenure, the Titans ranked fifth in the NFL rushing defense (103.5 yards per game) and sixth in third-down defense (36.1 percent).
There are other members of Schwartz’s staff with ties to the Titans: defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham coached the Titans linebackers from 2001–2003; defensive assistant/secondary Marcus Robertson played for the Titans from 1991–2000 and spent an additional nine years in the front office and on the coaching staff (2003–2011); linebackers coach Matt Burke was with the Titans from 2004–2008, the final three seasons as a defensive assistant/quality control coach; defensive line coach Kris Kocurek was with the Titans as a player in 2001 and 2002.
Additionally, Detroit’s 2012 defensive captains are both former Titans players: linebacker Stephen Tulloch and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.
PLAYING THE NFC
The Titans hope to continue their recent success against NFC foes with four games against the NFC North in 2012.
Since divisional realignment in 2002, the Titans are 28-12 against the NFC, including a 6-2 combined mark against the Lions, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. The Titans’ .700 interconference winning percentage ranks third in the NFL over that timespan, trailing only the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers.
LP PENCIL BOX SCHOOL SUPPLY DRIVE
At the game this Sunday, fans are encouraged to participate in the LP?PENCIL Box School Supply Drive. LP PENCIL Box, a collaborative non-profit venture between PENCIL Foundation and LP Building Products, offers Nashville Metro teachers the opportunity to acquire school supplies for the city’s most in-need children. Collection locations will be positioned outside of LP Field to collect items from erasers and pencil boxes to hand sanitizers, colored pencils, pens and rulers.