Golden Eagles claim OVC victory over Austin Peay, 31-23

Golden Eagles claim OVC victory over Austin Peay, 31-23

Sweeney breaks career record for touchdown passes;
Robinson has career-highs of nine catches for 130 yards and two scores

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Senior Lee Sweeney passed for 234 yards and three touchdowns, breaking the school record for career scoring tosses in leading Tennessee Tech (2-2/1-1 OVC) to a 31-23 Ohio Valley Conference victory over Austin Peay (1-4/0-2 OVC) Saturday night in Tucker Stadium.

Sweeney came into the game tied with Robert Craft with 38 career TD passes, and broke the record in the second quarter with a 21-yard hookup to Antonio Robinson to give Tech a 17-3 lead.

After the Govs came back to tie the game in the third quarter on a seven-yard scoring pass from Gary Orr to Ashlon Adams, Robinson grabbed his second touchdown pass from Sweeney, a 22-yard play that put the Golden Eagle back on top, 24-17.

Austin Peay drove 45 yards for a touchdown, with Terrence Holt covering the final 10 yards, but Tech's Dedrick Miley burst through the middle of the line to block the PAT attempt and leave the Golden Eagles with a 24-23 lead with 6:29 to play in the contest.

Sophomore Tim Bedford grabbed a pass from Sweeney on the next possession, broke a tackle and raced 46 yards for a touchdown to make it 31-23.

Robinson finished the game with career-highs of nine catches and 130 yards. Sweeney was 21-for-29 for 234 yard, his 12th career 200-yard game and the fifth time he has thrown three scoring passes in a game. The Golden Eagles finished with 314 total yards.

Ryan White led APSU's rushing game with 100 yards on 22 carries as the Govs gained 180 yards on the ground on the way to 378 yards of total offense. Orr was 15-for-23 for 198 yards.

Dustin Dillehay topped the Tech defense with 13 tackles while Richmond Tooley had 12 tackles and broke up three passes. Miley was one of five Tech players with six tackles in the contest, and also blocked the kick and Tech's only quarterback sack.

Jeremy Ross led the APSU defense with 12 tackles.

The Golden Eagles travel to west Tennessee next weekend to face UT Martin in the second of three games toward the Sgt. York Trophy. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Pregame Notes

* The game is the first of 2009 in the quest for the Sgt. York Trophy, a battle among the four Tennessee schools in the Ohio Valley Conference.
* Tech leads the all-time series between the two schools, 25-17-1, but Austin Peay has been victorious in the last two meetings.
* It's a beautiful night for football, 63 degrees with clear skies no wind.
* Lee Sweeney needs one touchdown pass to break the career record at TTU. The senior is currently tied with Robert Craft (2001-04) with 38 career passing TDs.
* Two changes to the Tech starting lineup: Dwight Evans will start at Ram linebacker in place of Kelvin Quarles and at Bear defensive end, Brendon Fisher will make the start.

First Quarter Notes

* Tech won the toss and elected to receive the opening kick. Austin Peay pulled the kick out of bounds to give the Golden Eagles the ball at their own 40.
* Sweeney came out throwing the ball as Tech drove down the field to the Austin Peay 8 yard line before settling for a 23-yard field goal by freshman Tim Donegan. The drive spanned nearly half the quarter, taking seven minutes and 17 seconds. Tech leads 3-0
* Austin Peay answered with a scoring drive of its own. The Governors moved the ball almost exclusively on the ground and capped the 40-yard drive with a 35-yard field goal to tie the game. Tied 3-3
* The Golden Eagles changed up their approach on their second drive, utilizing the Wildcat formation with Cass Barnes and Tremaine Hudson. The duo accounted for 45 yards on the ground on the drive which resulted in a four-yard score by Hudson after taking the direct snap. Tech leads 10-3

Second Quarter Notes

* Austin Peay drove to the Tech 29 and went for it on fourth and four, but Justin Vann stopped the APSU ball carrier well short of the first down. Tech takes over on downs.
* Tech converted on a fourth and three play with Sweeney found wide receiver Tim Benford on a five-yard out. The catch was Benford's second of the day, and he has now caught at least two passes in each of his 16 career games.
* Sweeney now owns the career record for touchdown passes with 39 as he found Antonio Robinson over the middle from 21 yards out to give the Golden Eagles a 14-point lead. Robinson now has seven catches for 82 yards and that score. Tech leads 17-3
* It looked like the Golden Eagle defense forced the first three-and-out of the game but Austin Peay went for it on fourth and three from its own 35 and converted on the ground for a first down.
* Austin Peay went for it on fourth and one on the TTU six yard line and converted their second fourth down play of the drive. The APSU quarterback pitched it outside to the running back who had went in the endzone untouched. Tech leads 17-10
* Tech received the ensuing kickoff with less than 30 seconds left in the half, but the Golden Eagles moved the ball to the APSU 37 in three plays to set up a field goal attempt from 54 yards out. Donegan had the distance but missed it to the right.

Halftime Notes

* Sweeney is 13-for-15 passing for 119 yards and a touchdown. Barnes is 1-for-2 passing for 10 yards and has three rushes for 14 yards.
* Hudson leads the ground attack for TTU with 29 yards on seven carries. Dontey Gay has 16 yards on two carries, and Jimmie Blair has seven yards on one carry.
* Richmond Tooley leads the defense with eight tackles, three of which are solo. Justin Vann has four tackles and both Dwight Evans and Dedrick Miley have three.
* Tech has 191 yards of total offense, and Austin Peay has 174. The time of possession battle is nearly even as the Tech had the ball for 16:46 and APSU had the ball for 13:14.

Third Quarter Notes

* Austin Peay received the second half kickoff and will start at their own 25 yard line.
* Neither defense has been able to stop the opposing offense so far. APSU moved the ball down to the field to the Tech seven and found the endzone on a third down pass to the right flat with 9:20 remaing in the third quarter. Tied 17-17
* Tech is forced to punt for the first time in the game after failing to convert on a third and four. Fourty-two yard punt, no return.
* The Golden Eagle defense answered with a stop of its own, forcing a three and out on the next APSU possession. Tech will take over at their own 34.
* Sweeney has been leaning on wide receiver Antonio Robinson in important situations on this drive. He's looked to the 6-foot-5 junior on three third downs and picked up a new set of downs all three times. The first time Robinson forced a pass interference call, and the second and third times he caught first down passes. Robinson now has eight catches for 108 yards and his first career 100-yard receiving game.
* Appropriately, Robinson capped the TTU drive with an incredible touchdown grab. Sweeney lofted the ball in the right corner of the endzone and Robinson outjumped the APSU defender to haul in the pass. Robinson has set career highs with nine catches and 130 yards receiving. Tech leads 24-17

Fourth Quarter Notes

* Both teams have scored in every quarter so far. Tech begins the fourth quarter in a tough spot, third and 22 on their own 36.
* Austin Peay drove down to the Tech 16 yard line but could not turn it into points as the Governors missed a 33-yard field goal wide left. Tech takes over with just more than nine minutes left in the game.
* Tech went three-and-out on their next possession and was forced to punt it back to Austin Peay. After the return, APSU takes over at the TTU 45.
* Austin Peay is hurrying up on offense while keeping the ball on the ground. The Governors have racked up more than 100 more rushing yards than Tech.
* The Governors looked like they tied up the game when they scored on a 10 yard rush up the middle, but the Golden Eagles blocked the point after try to maintain a one-point advantage. Tech has blocked 10 kicks now in two-plus years under head coach Watson Brown. Tech leads 24-23
* Tech answered right back on its next possession. The Golden Eagles started with good field possession after a 40 yard kickoff return and personal foul on the Governors. Sweeney found Benford over the middle at about the 30 yard line, and Benford did the rest as he won a foot race to the left corner of the endzone. Sweeney has passed for three touchdowns today, the fifth time in his career he has done that. Tech leads 31-23
* Tech takes over on downs after stopping Austin Peay's fourth and 16 attempt a yard short. TTU has the ball on its own 20 with just over two minutes to play. Austin Peay has all three of its timeouts remaining.
* Austin Peay is about to get the ball back with about 20 seconds left in the game.
* Correction, Austin Peay roughed the TTU punter on his kick attempt, giving the Golden Eagles a first down and securing their second win of the season. Tech wins 31-23