Golden Eagles lead early, eventually lose to No. 4 Oregon 63-14
EUGENE, Ore. – For a few fleeting moments, the Tennessee Tech football team was on top of the world.
However, the Oregon pass rush combined with the Ducks' blazing team speed brought the Golden Eagles back down to earth, and the fourth-ranked FBS team in the country thrilled another sellout home crowd with a 63-14 victory Saturday in Autzen Stadium.
Tech surged to a sudden 7-0 lead on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Tre Lamb to Da'Rick Rogers, but an unrelenting Duck pass rush sacked Lamb five times in the first half and limited the explosive Tech offense to 45 total yards by the break.
The so-called "quack attack" was led by redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota, accounting for 308 yards through the air to go along with four touchdowns. The young gun complete 21 passes out of 28 attempts. Sophomore running back De'Anthony Thomas accumulated 135 total yards on the day, including two scores.
Despite suffering their first loss of the season, the Golden Eagles (2-1) will fly home with a trunk full of highlights in their matchup with one of the nation's premier programs.
On top of scoring the first points of the game, the Tech defense and special teams also made some big plays of their own.
Sophomore Tra'Darius Goff led the special teams' highlights of the game, blocking a second quarter field goal attempt by the Ducks. It marked the second career block for Goff, who also gathered up nine tackles in the game to lead the Golden Eagles.
Another special teams play made noise in the game, when senior linebacker Kedrick Towles recovered an Oregon fumble on the first punt of the game for the Golden Eagles. The recovery led to the first scoring drive for Tech and gave the Golden Eagles momentum early in the contest.
Joining the highlight plays of the game for the Golden Eagles was the first career interception by senior defensive back Taylor Hennigan. The pick ended a Duck drive that looked sure to result in points for Oregon.
Senior linebacker Howard Griffin added a takeaway of his own, intercepting Mariota in the second quarter. The interception marked the first of his career and marked a rare mistake by the red-shirt freshman on the day.
The 57,091 fans made their presence felt during the game as the deafening crowd marked the fifth largest the Golden Eagles have played in front of in program history.
Sophomore running back and local Cookeville talent Stephen Bush matched a career-best game with exact numbers, rushing for 63 yards on 14 carries for the second straight week.
The Tech rushing game eclipsed the century mark on the day, the third straight week for the offense. The Golden Eagles finished with 114 yards on the ground.
Tech opens OVC play and defense of its 2011 championship next week with a game at Southeast Missouri on Saturday. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
* Today marks the first match-up ever between Tennessee Tech and Oregon and the first for the Golden Eagles against any Pac-12 program.
* For the second time in program history, the Golden Eagles will face the No. 4 ranked team in FBS football, the highest in Tech's history.
* Both teams come into the game owning a 2-0 record.
* Senior quarterback Tre Lamb needs just 37 yards today to pass Hall of Fame runningback Larry Schreiber for fourth on Tech's all-time career list for total offense.
* Senior defensive back Taylor Hennigan is making his first career start here at Autzen Stadium.
* The Golden Eagles averaged just 1:28 for their six scoring drives last week against North Greenville.
* Tech holds several rankings headed into this game including: first in the OVC and seventh in the nation in total offense; first in the OVC and 20th in the nation in total defense.
* TTU also ranks 11th nationally in scoring offense, fourth in passing efficiency and ninth in net punting.
* Today marks the 16th season in a row that the Golden Eagles face off against an FBS opponent.
* The Golden Eagles are suiting up in new uniforms today, with throw-back helmets from the playing days of the early 1970's. Take a look here.
* Today's game captains for the Golden Eagles are: Caleb Mitchell, Chris Dickerson, Jordan Adams, and Michael Baker.
* Tennessee Tech wins the coin toss for the third consecutive game and will receive to start the game.
* Weather for today's game is mostly sunny and 70 degrees with a 3 mph wind coming from the northwest.
* Kickoff is under way.
FIRST QUARTER NOTES:
* Tre Lamb completes his first pass attempt for an eight-yard gain to junior receiver Da'Rick Rogers to open play here at Autzen Stadium.
* Golden Eagles will get the ball back following a punt by punter Chad Zinchini. The ball bounced off an Oregon player and senior Kedrick Towles made the recovery. Ball is on the 23-yard line.
* TOUCHDOWN!!!! Tre Lamb connects with Da'Rick Rogers for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Rogers jukes his way around several defenders for his third touchdown reception in as many games.
* The Golden Eagles lead the No. 4 ranked Oregon Ducks 7-0 with 13:03 remaining in the first quarter.
* Tech scored in just 32 seconds, one of the quickest drives of the season.
* Oregon ties things up, 7-7 here in the first quarter. The crowd is deafening here at Autzen Stadium.
* Lamb gets hit late and the Ducks will pay a 15-yard penalty for it.
* De'Anthony Thomas shows off his track team speed and gives Oregon a 14-7 lead with 7:23 remaining in the first quarter.
* Junior defensive lineman DaJaun Brown forces De'Anthony Thomas to fumble at the one-yard line following a 49-yard reception. Oregon offensive lineman Jake Fisher falls on the ball in the endzone for an Oregon touchdown.
* Tre Lamb hit late again and earns the Golden Eagles 15 more yards the hard way.
* At the end of the first quarter, Oregon leads Tech 21-7.
SECOND QUARTER NOTES:
* What a way to open the quarter! Senior linebacker Marcus Edwards earns his first sack of the year to move the Ducks back five yards.
* Tech stops Oregon on fourth and one and will take over on the Oregon 25-yard line.
* Junior linebacker Blake Adams makes the stop for Tech.
* INTERCEPTION!!! Senior lineback Howard Griffin with the pick of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
* That's the first of his career and stops the Ducks drive at the Golden Eagles 23-yard line.
* Tech stalls the Oregon drive and the Ducks are forced to kick a field goal.
* IT'S BLOCKED!!! The kick is blocked by sophomore Tra'Darius Goff and the Golden Eagles take over on their own 21-yard line.
* That marks the second career block for Goff.
* The Golden Eagle drive continues after Oregon's third personal foul of the game.
* At the end of the first half, the Ducks lead the Golden Eagles 35-7.
THIRD QUARTER NOTES:
* Sophomore Darian Stone makes his season debut, taking over for quarterback Tre Lamb.
* Oregon scores for the second time of the second quarter. Ducks lead 49-7.
* Senior Tremaine Hudson with a 20-yard kickoff return to the Golden Eagle 30-yard line.
* Zinchini with a HUGE punt of 62 yards to the Oregon 18-yard line.
* The junior punter now has four punts that have been downed inside Oregon's 20-yard line.
* INTERCEPTION!!!! Senior defensive back Taylor Hennigan gathers his first career pick.
* Tech takes over on their own 28-yard line.
* Oregon earns its fourth personal foul of the game, a late hit out of bounds.
* Local Cookeville talent, sophomore running back Stephen Bush, with back-to-back strong runs of nine and 14 yards respectivley. Golden Eagles now inside the 10-yard line.
* TOUCHDOWN!!! Darian Stone completes his first career touchdown pass to junior Doug Page.
* Page with his first career touchdown reception.
* Golden Eagles drove 72 yards in seven plays for the touchdown to make the deficit 49-14.
* Darian Stone now has touchdown drives against a team from the Big Ten and a team from the Pac-12. He led Tech on its only scoring drive against Iowa last season.
* Oregon will punt for the first time this game after going for it on every fourth down of the day.
* Oregon scores right before the end of the third quarter. Ducks lead 55-14.
* End of the third, Oregon leads 55-14.
FOURTH QUARTER NOTES:
* Both teams running clock at this point. Just trying to run their offenses while avoiding injury as best as possible.
* Oregon punches it into the endzone. They now lead 63-14 with 11:17 to play.
* Oregon's 85th straight sell-out marks the fifth largest crowd that the Golden Eagle football team has ever played in front of. Over 57,000 fans made the trip for today's match-up.
* Oregon is forced to punt again. Tech takes over on its own nine-yard line.
* The Golden Eagles continue to work the running game as the clock wind down to under two minutes.
* And the game is over. Oregon defeats Tennessee Tech 63-14.