MURRAY. Ky. -- The Tennessee Tech football team had thoughts of
spoiling Homecoming for Murray State Saturday, but the Racers had
different ideas, as MSU took a 51-21 victory over Tech in Ohio
Valley Conference play.
MSU quarterback Jeff Ehrhardt and receiver Derrick Townsel gave the Tech defense fits, hooking up 11 times for 199 yards and a touchdown.
Lee Sweeney started at quarterback for the Golden Eagles, but Josh Lowery also saw action, before leaving with an injury in the second quarter. The quarterbacks combined to complete 33-of-48 passes for 280 yards, but also combined for three interceptions. The Golden Eagles were unable to force an MSU turnover.
The Golden Eagles fall to 1-2 in OVC play, and 3-4 overall, losing consecutive games, and falling below .500 for the first time in 2008. Murray State improves to 3-4 overall, and 2-1 in conference play.
Tech will have a short week before hosting UT-Martin in Cookeville on Thursday. Thursday's game will celebrate academic excellence. For tickets, visit the ticket office in the Eblen Center, or call 931-372-3940.
Watson Brown post-game quotes
"We're getting a rude awakening in the league. This is a young team, I've said it many times before, and we need everybody to hang with us. We need the upper-Cumberland area to hang tight, and stick with us."
"We will get better, this team will get better as the year goes on, but the team is struggling right now. They took it to us and they made plays. It wasn't any one thing, they had a dominant game."
"(Ehrhardt) is a great player. He was a freshman playing us last year, and we beat them. We had an older team and at that point, very healthy. Now, we're the pups."
Golden Eagles vs. Racers game notes
Today is the 36th all-time meeting between these two teams in Murray, with the Golden Eagles and Racers deadlocked at 17-17-1 in the previous 35.
Today's game features the Ohio Valley Conference's top two tacklers, with Tech's Corey Reed at no. 2, and Murray State's Nathan Williams leading the conference.
It was against MSU a year ago that Tech QB Josh Lowery stepped in to replace the injured Lee Sweeney, and led the Golden Eagles to a 48-24 victory.
Tech and MSU come into the game with identical 1-1 OVC records. Today's winner will put themselves in solid position near the top of the OVC standings as 2-1.
After beating Austin Peay 32-12 on Oct. 4, the racers are looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2004.
MSU celebrates its 2008 homecoming against Tech for the 12th time, going 5-6 in the first 11.
Coming into the game with a 3-3 record, the Golden Eagles have not won or lost consecutive games in the 2008 season, alternating wins and losses each week. Tech is coming off a 33-12 loss to Eastern Kentucky last week.
First quarter notes
A 59-yard touchdown pass from MSU's Jeff Ehrhardt to Derrick Townsel capped a 5-play,78-yard scoring drive, putting the Racers up 7-0. After each Racer score, a thoroughbred rounds the track at Roy Steward Stadium.
In the first quarter, MSU converted on a fourth-a-one before missing a field goal later in the drive. Later in the quarter, a botched snap on a Tech punt gave the Golden Eagles a scare before punter Nick Campbell booted the ball 39-yards.
After QB Lee Sweeney started the game for the Golden Eagles, Josh Lowery took over on Tech's last drive of the first quarter.
Second quarter notes
A Lowery interception set up a 4-play, 27-yard Racer scoring drive, putting MSU up 14-0 early in the second.
After a Racer touchdown, Henry Sailes took the ensuing kick 63 yards, to the MSU 27-yard line, giving the Golden Eagles their best starting field position of the half. Two plays later, Sweeney hooked up with Tim Benford, who made an acrobatic catch in the corner of the end zone, for a 23-yard touchdown pass, pulling the Golden Eagles within 21-7.
Tech QB's Sweeney and Lowery combined to complete 15-of-24 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Tech is 2-1 this year when throwing for over 200 yards in a game. The Golden Eagles rushed for 23 yards in the first half.
Tech punter Nick Campbell averaged 42.2 yards on four punts, including a 52-yarder.
Racer receiver Derrick Townsel caught six passes for 144 yards, including a 59-yard score. MSU QB Jeff Ehrhardt completed 18-of-22 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
The Racers edged Tech in time of possession, holding the ball for 15 minutes and 19 seconds, while the Tech offense was on the field for 14 minutes and 41 seconds.
The Golden Eagles are 0-3 in 2008 when trailing at halftime.
Third quarter notes
The first five minutes of the third quarter were dominated by defense, as the Racer D came up with two interceptions, while Tech forced a three-and-out in that time.
MSU capitalized on Sweeney's second interception of the second half, converting on a 7-play, 56 yard touchdown drive to take a 28-7 lead.
The Racers added a field goal and a touchdown in the third quarter. After a missed PAT, MSU took a 37-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
Fourth quarter notes
Despite being pinned at their own 2-yard line after a Campbell punt, the Racers offense cruised its way down the field for a 98-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 36-yard run, to take a 44-7 lead.
Tremaine Hudson took the ensuing kick 60-yards to the Racer 45 yard line, and Henry Sailes capitalized later in the drive, scoring on a 16-yard touchdown pass, capping a 7-play, 45 yard drive, making the score 44-14.
Sweeney scored on a one-yard touchdown run, making the score 44-21, before Murray added a final touchdown in the final minute, to bring the final score to 51-21.