Sailes sets school record for career kick return
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It turned out to be a special kind of victory
Saturday night at LP Field as the Tennessee Tech special teams
provided the big plays in a 21-10 Ohio Valley Conference victory
for the Golden Eagles.
With the win, Tech (4-4/3-2 OVC) has now won three consecutive
games and brought its overall record back to .500. It also lifted
Tech to a 3-2 record in conference play and gave Tech a 2-1 record
in its defense of the Sgt. York Trophy.
Tennessee State (3-5/0-4 OVC) lost its fourth straight conference
game for the first time in school history.
Junior all-OVC receiver Tim Benford caught two touchdown passes
from Tre Lamb
and sophomore Zack Ziegler (photo below left) added another scoring
reception to account for Tech's 21 points.
The defense also made some huge contributions to the victory by
stopping the Tigers in the red zone.
But it was the special teams that proved the difference.
Tech's first touchdown came after Alden Olverson (photo above
right) blocked a Tiger punt deep in TSU territory. It was Tech's
first blocked kick of this season and the 14th in coach
Watson Brown's four seasons at the helm.
That led to a 22-yard TD strike from Lamb to Benford to give
Tech a 7-3 lead in the second quarter.
After TSU had regained the lead with an 84-yard touchdown
connection between Jeremy Perry and Calvin McNairl, a 38-yard
kickoff return by Henry Sailes put
the Golden Eagle offense in motion at midfield for the final minute
of the half. Lamb marched Tech to the six, where he found Ziegler
on the sidelines and the hard-nosed sophomore fought his way into
the end zone for a 14-10 halftime lead.
The kick return by Sailes allowed him to break the school record
for most career kick return yards.
Tech added a second Lamb-to-Benford touchdown with 3:01
remaining in the third quarter to make it 21-10.
The other ingredient in the success of the special teams was junior
punter Nick Campbell, who averaged 45 yards on six kicks, including
four downed inside the Tiger 20-yard line. He had a long kick of 60
yards, and twice in the fourth quarter pinned TSU deep inside its
Tech had just 200 yards in total offense, with 107 on the ground
and 93 through the air, but the Golden Eagles scored when they had
their chances. Tennessee State, meanwhile, had 361 yards of
offense, getting 158 on the ground and 203 through the air. Dante'
Thomas rushed for 75 yards on 18 carries to top the ground game,
while McNairl finished with nine receptions for 131 yards.
The Golden Eagles get a week off to heal some injuries, and return
to play on Nov. 6 when they travel to Murray State. Tech wraps up
the regular season with back-to-back home games against Eastern
Kentucky (Nov. 13) and Jacksonville State (Nov. 20).
* Tech and TSU meet for the 25th time since the in-state rivalry
began in 1985. Tech won last year's game, 20-13, on a late TD pass
from Lee Sweeney to Tim Benford. The win
allowed Tech to clinch the Sgt. York Trophy. TSU still owns a 14-9
advantage in the all-time series.
Sailes needs just 35 yards in kickoff returns to break the
school career record. The mark is 1,418 yards set by Gerald
Bentley. Sailes had 1,383 yards.
Crawford rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns last week,
after getting two touchdowns and 70 yards the week before.
Edwards was in on a school-record five quarterback sacks last
week, and is currently leading the OVC with 8.5 sacks in 2010. The
school record is 10 sacks in a season held by Branon Vaughn, Shane
Queen and D.J. Bleisath.
* The Golden Eagles are decked out in all-white uniforms with the
purple and gold stripes on the pants and shoulders. Tennessee State
is wearing all-blue uniforms. Both teams are wearing white
Weather for the game is practically perfect in every way. Clear
skies, light breeze and temperature of 70 degree.
FIRST QUARTER NOTES
* On the second play from scrimmage, Zack Ziegler and
tackler Justin Bather collided helmet-to-helmet and each left the
game woozy. Tre
Lamb's long pass into the end zone was intercepted by Marquez
Hall for a touchback.
* On the Tigers' first possession, the Tech defense held on three
downs to force a punt, Alden Olverson
jumped offsides to give TSU a first down. The Tigers used a 31-yard
run by Dante' Thomas to move into Tech territory and eventually
earned a first-and-goal from the 10. Marcus Edwards
came up with the tackle on third down, holding TSU to a 21-yard
field goal by Jamin Godfrey for a 3-0 lead with 6:47 remaining in
the first period. The drive covered 76 yards in 12 plays and chewed
5:37 off the clock.
SECOND QUARTER NOTES
* The special teams set up Tech's first score, and Olverson
redeemed himself for the offsides play earlier on a TSU punt. The
junior receiver burst through to block a Tiger punt at the TSU 26.
The Tigers recovered and Antonio Harper nearly gained the first
down but came up short.
* Lamb needed just three plays to get his offense into the end
zone, finding a wide open Tim Benford for a 22-yard touchdown
strike and a 7-3 Golden Eagle lead with 12:29 left in the half.
* The teams traded punts a couple times each, with Nick Campbell
delivering a 45-yard kick and a 58-yard kick, the second backing
TSU up to its own nine-yard line with 2:11 to play.
* On third-and-three, Jeremy Perry found Calvin McNairl on a short
pass and the speedy receiver took it 84 yards for a touchdown and a
10-7 TSU lead with 1:03 to play.
Sailes, (photo left) who had 34 yards combined in his first two
kick returns and was one yard shy of the career record, slashed his
way for a 38-yard return on the ensuing kickoff to not only break
the record, it also set up Tech for a go-ahead score in the final
* Lamb found Ziegler -- he returned to action following the hit on
the game's second play -- for a 17-yard completion to get the drive
Allen grabbed a 16-yard completion and Tech faced a
second-and-goal from the 11. A roughing the passer penalty moved
the ball to the six with 13 seconds to play. Lamb hit Zielger at
the three and his second-effort allowed him to fight his way across
the goal line with five seconds left. That gave Tech a 14-10 lead
at the half. The scoring drive was 51 yards in seven plays and took
THIRD QUARTER NOTES
* Tennessee State took the opening kickoff of the second half and
marched all the way to the Tech seven, a 60-yard drive, but Tech
stopped the Tigers and forced a field goal attempt. The 24-yard
kick by Godfrey was wide right. TSU had the ball for 11 plays and
5:15 before coming up empty.
* The Golden Eagle offense hammered together an 80-yard touchdown
drive in 15 plays to build the Tech lead to 21-10. The drive lasted
6:39, and ended when Benford snared his second TD of the game.
After Lamb and Benford missed on second down on a fade route to the
right corner as Marquez Hall broke up the attempt. Tech called the
same play and this time, Benford went up for the catch on the
FOURTH QUARTER NOTES
* Tennessee State opened a drive in the thd quarter and continued
it into the fourth, moving all the way from its own 13 to the Tech
six. The drive included a fake field goal that picked up a first
down, but the defense held. Tommy McBride sacked TSU quarterback
Jeremy Perry on third-and-goal, and TSU tried another field goal.
This time, Godfrey's 31-yard attempt sailed wide right and Tech's
lead remained at 21-10.
* The Tigers, running a hurry-up system, got into Tech territory
but were stopped at the 49. Tech's offense, playing conservatively,
went three-and-out, and Nick Campbell punted it out of bounds at
the TSU three.
Jones grabbed is third interception of the season, picking off
a long TSU pass attempt at the Tiger 40.