Eastern Kentucky benefits from Tech miscues, claims 33-12 OVC win

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Taylor Long kicked four field goals and Eastern Kentucky took advantage of three Tech turnovers and two mistakes in the kicking game to claim a 33-12 Ohio Valley Conference win over the Golden Eagles Saturday night in Tucker Stadium.

Tech gave away the ball on a fumble and two interceptions, and EKU turned all three turnovers into points. The Golden Eagles also had a punt blocked that led to Colonel score, and interfered with a fair catch at midfield which set the EKU offense in motion in Tech territory.

The Golden Eagle defense had a solid outing, holding EKU to three Long field goals early in the game despite tremendous field position for the Colonels. But the Golden Eagle offense didn't answer until freshman Tim Benford caught a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes from Josh Lowery.

EKU's first points came on a 38-yard Long field goal late in the first quarter after Stephon Fuqua blocked a punt and the Colonels took over at the Tech 27. The Colonels moved six yards in six plays and settled for the 3-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Tech interfered with a fair catch at the 50, and the penalty gave EKU the ball at the Golden Eagle 34. After moving to the four, the Golden Eagle defense held and Long kicked a 25-yard field goal to make it 6-0.

On Tech's first play, Lee Sweeney was sacked by Tyjuan Jones and fumbled, and Andew Soucy recovered at the Tech 20. The Golden Eagle defense once again held, and Long kicked a 37-yard field goal to make it 9-0.

With 2:24 to play, Lowery's pass out of the Tech end zone was deflected, tipped twice and intercepted at the five by Soucy. Two plays later, Aaron Bradley scored to make it 16-0 at halftime.

The Golden Eagle defense held again at the EKU 23 and forced a Colonel punt, but Tech's rush ran into the kicker and the 15-yard penalty gave the Colonels a first down. They took advantage and put together what amounted to a 92-yard scoring drive to make it 23-0 on a 19-yard burst up the middle by Bradley.

An interception by Zach Denton halted Tech's next drive, and EKU moved 86 yards in six plays to make it 30-0 when Cody Watts hit Shannon Davis for a one-yard TD.

The Golden Eagles finally got on the scoreboard early in the fourth as Lowery drove the team 56 yards in nine plays, hitting Benford on an 11-yard TD pass to make it 30-6 when the PAT kick failed.

EKU drove 58 yards in seven plays, with 56 of those coming on two carries, and Long kicked a 24-yard field goal with 8:42 remaining to make it 33-6.

Lowery found Benford for a 15-yard touchdown with 6:37 to play, capping a six-play, 72-yard Tech scoring drive to make it 33-12. Once again, the PAT kick was wide.

EKU finished with 340 yards of total offense, getting 214 on the ground and 126 through the air. Tech had 261 yards of offense, being held to 56 on the ground and passing for 205.

Quotes from TTU head coach Watson Brown:

"Number one, give Eastern Kentucky credit. That's why they win championships. They didn't make mistakes and they played a solid game. They're strengths are their defense and the kicking game, and their offense does what it needs to do. They didn't have a turnover, they had very few penalties, and totally dominated the kicking game."

"We can't play any worse than that. That's about all I can say. We can't play any worse, and yet late in the third quarter it's 16-0 and we have a change to come back and win. We've just got to understand how to win. You cannot win when you have six illegal procedures, seven dropped passes, penalties galore in the kicking game, all kinds of crazy things we did in the kicking game."

"We have a long way to go, and the maturity factor showed tonight. It's fine to be mature when things are going good, but tonight we were not a mature bunch. We let things get to us, especially in the first half on offense."

"We knew this was no cake walk. There are some good football teams in this league, and we just played one of them. They went back to 'Eastern Kentucky' football and we didn't match it."

Pre-game notes

-Before the game, former Cookeville High School football coach Bucky Pitts was honored. Pitts coached Tech head coach Watson Brown, and his brother Mack, who is the head coach at Texas.

-The Golden Eagles will be wearing purple jerseys and pants, with white helmets. EKU will be wearing white jerseys and pants with red helmets.

-Tonight's game is the first Ohio Valley Conference match up at Tucker Stadium in 2008. The Golden Eagles won their conference opener on the road at Southeast Missouri on Sept. 11. Eastern Kentucky enters the contest at 2-3, and 1-1 in the OVC.

-Eastern Kentucky won the toss and elected to receive the opening kick. Tennessee Tech will defend the south end zone to begin the game.

First Quarter notes

-On the game's opening drive, the Colonels were stopped for a three yard loss on fourth and one, giving Tech the ball at the 36 yard line.

-On Tech's first offensive possession, EKU's Stephen Fuqua blocked a punt, and the Colonels took over at the Tech 26 yard line. EKU was able to convert the good field position into a field goal.

-Tech QB Lee Sweeney completd 5-of-9 passes for 24 yards in the first quarter. Henry Sailes ran for nine yards on two carries.

Second Quarter notes

-EKU converted on a fourth and one in Tech territory to keep their drive alive. The Colonels were later forced to punt.

-Sweeney fumbled after being sacked, and the ball was recovered by EKU's Andrew Soucy at the Tech 20 yard line. The Golden Eagle defense was able to hold, forcing a 37-yard field goal, which put the Colonels up 9-0. The ensuing kick was kicked out of bounds, giving Tech the ball at their own 40-yard line.

-Josh Lowery took over quarterbacking duties for the Golden Eagles, going 4-for-5 on his first drive for 27 yards, leading Tech to a 43-yard field goal attempt, which missed wide right.

-After being deflected by a defensive lineman, and tipped twice more, Lowery hs a pass intercepted at the Tech five yard-line with just over two minutes to play in the second quarter. EKU converted on the turnover, scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run run two plays later, and leads 16-0.

Halftime notes

-Corey Reed leads the Golden Eagles at halftime with 11 total tackles. His career high is 16 against Central Methodist last week.

-Lowery and Sweeney combined to complete 11-for-18 passes for 52 yards. Tim Benford and Henry Sailes each caught four passes.

-The Golden Eagle defense held EKU to 1-of-9 on third down. However two Tech turnovers, a blocked punt, and a kick-catch interference penalty led to all 16 Colonel points.

-The Tech offense put up just 63 yards in the first half, and went 0-for-6 on third-down.

Third quarter notes

-Sweeney started the second half under center for the Golden Eagles.

? Tech got its best starting field position of the game after an EKU punt, staring their drive at the EKU 45 yard line. It was the first time Tech started a drive in EKU territory. EKU has started four drives in Tech territory, including two inside the red-zone.

-A roughing the kicker penalty on Tech gave EKU a first down after the Colonels were forced to punt halfway through the third quarter. EKU was able to take advantage of the Tech miscue by scoring a touchdown, to take a 23-0 lead.

-EKU took advantage of a Lowery interception, by driving 92 yards for a touchdown, and a 30-0 lead.

Fourth Quarter notes

-Tech penetrated into the red-zone for the first time of the game on its first drive on of the fourth quarter. The Golden Eagles capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Lowery to Benford. The PAT was no good, making the score 30-6.

-The Golden Eagles capped the drive with a 15 yard TD pass from Lowery to Benford. A missed PAT put the score at 33-12.