By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- A punishing ground game and a swarming defense were keys to Tennessee Tech devouring Austin Peay, 34-0, Saturday afternoon in Tucker Stadium to send the 12 Golden Eagle seniors out on a winning note in the season finale.
Tech (5-7/2-6 OVC) closed out the 2013 season with back-to-back wins, while the Governors (0-12/0-8 OVC) wrapped up a winless campaign.
Junior quarterback Darian Stone rushed for 153 yards to top a ground attack that piled up 284 yards and all five Golden Eagle touchdowns. Cody Forbes added 64 yards while Stephen Bush finished with 59 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.
In addition to 118 passing yards on Stone's 9-for-15 effort, the Golden Eagles managed 402 yards of offense. Tech put together three six-minute scoring drives.
The Golden Eagles scored on all four of their possessions in the second half except for a kneel-down on the final play.
The Tech defense, meanwhile, limited Austin Peay to 86 total yards including just 72 through the air. The "D" had 11 tackles-for-loss, led by senior Malcolm Mitchell with three including his team-best ninth quarterback sack of the year. Tra'Darius Goff had two TFL and five tackles, finishing the year with 101 total tackles to rank first in the OVC. Marty Jones was one of three Golden Eagles with a team-high seven tackles, and finished with 98 tackles for second in the league.
As convincing as the final score appears, it wasn't decided until the second half after the Golden Eagles took a slim, 7-0 lead into halftime. That came on a six-minute, 80-yard drive on Tech's first possession of the contest and ended with a one-yard push by Bush.
Tech took control in the third quarter with a couple of touchdowns. Stone led the Golden Eagles on the opening possession of the second half on a 61-yard, five-play drive that was capped when Bush split the line and raced untouched 42 yards for a 14-0 lead.
APSU marched 45 yards on 11 plays into Tech territory, before Jones and Jimmy Laughlin stopped the Governor receiver short on fourth down play. From there, Tech went 66 yards in 14 plays, with Bush pounding it in from the one for a 20-0 lead. The drive chewed up 6:19 off the clock.
Early in the fourth, a 45-yard screen pass to Forbes set up Tech's next score, a nine-yard run by Stone for a 27-0 lead. It was the final pass of the day for the Golden Eagles. The final possession featured 11 consecutive running plays, including eight by Forbes, as Tech moved 71 yards in 11 plays on a six-and-a-half minute touchdown drive for the 34-0 lead. Stone had a 31-yard carry in the effort, while Forbes crossed the goal line from the two.
* It's Military and Public Safety Appreciation Day in Tucker Stadium, and the Golden Eagles will don a new, camouflage -style uniform in honor of U.S. military personnel. It's also Scout Day.
* Temperature is expected to be about 46 degrees in Cookeville at kickoff, under mostly cloud skies. SLight breeze from the north, but a decent day for football.
* Tech leads the all-time series against Austin Peay, 28-18-1, after the Govs downed the Golden Eagles, 38-31, last season in Clarksville. The teams are 3-3 since the Govs returned to the OVC in football in 2007.
* Tech will bid farewell to 12 seniors in pregame ceremonies on the field, a group that ranges from A (Adams) to Z (Ziegler and Zinchini). The dozen who depart are Blake Adams, Bud Golden, Jordan Johnson, Jerry King, Cory McDonald, Seth McDonald, Malcolm Mitchell. Lamar Moore, James Normand, Wesley Sherrill, Zach Ziegler and Chad Zinchini.
* Quarterback Darian Stone is averaging 117 rushing yards per game in his five contests in November during his career. He has rushed for 1,003 career yards.
* Senior James Normand ends his career by making his 36th career start in the offensive line. Wesley Sherrill also makes his 36th career start, but not consecutively.
* James Normand is the lone game captain attending the coin toss. Tech wins the toss and defers, and will kick off to start the game.
FIRST QUARTER NOTES
* First-and-15 for the Govs and Jordan Johnson busts through and makes the tackle for a three-yard loss. Now third-and-10, and Terrell Rollins and Jimmy Laughlin combine for a sack to force a punt. Fair catch by Ladarius Vanlier and the Golden Eagles take over at their own 20.
* Middle screen to Vanlier goes for 22 yards and a first down at the Tech 47. Darian Stone breaks tackles and picks up 25 yards to the APSU 33. Another first down as Stone breaks through up the middle to the 22. Stone sacked to the 25, bringing up third-and-13. Pass to Krys Cates and he's out of bounds close to the first down. Time out for measurement....FIRST DOWN, Golden Eagles at the 12. Stephen Bush behind a block by Randall Reeves for three. Offsides penalty on Govs, and it's at the five. Another offsides penalty, takes it to the three. Second and inches. Bush gets the first down at the one. Bush for the touchdown! Harris PAT and it's 7-0. Frive took 6:16 and covered 80 yards in 13 plays.
* Laughlin hits quarterback Andrew Spivey as he throws, incomplete, and APSU is forced to punt after three-and-out. Ball is downed at the Tech 30 with 1:11 to go in the first. Tech goes three-and-out, so Chad Zinchini punts. Crushes one 60 yards, and out of bounds at the APSU 15.
* Midoho Okpokuwuruk and Blake Adams combine to stop Omar Williams for a one-yard loss on the final play of the quarter.
SECOND QUARTER NOTES
* Laughlin knocks down a pass, and it's third-and-11 at the Gov 14. False start on APSU, backing the Govs the nine. Third-and-16. Incomplete. Govs to punt. Eric Belew barely misses the block in the end zone, and the punt is downed at the Tech 38 for a 53-yard kick. Offense takes over with 14:39 to play in the half.
* Quarterback draw doesn't work, so Zinchini will punt into a stiff breeze from the Tech 38. Fair catch at the APSU 26 for a 36-yard punt.
* Govs offense picks up a first down, but on third-and two from the APSU 40, Marty Jones and Kevin Robinson-White stop Williams short of the first down. Fourth-and-one, and Govs line up to go for it. Timeout, ad they will go for it. NOT A CHANCE! Tra'Darius Goff meets Williams head-on in the backfield for a three-yard loss and ball goes to the Golden Eagles at the APSU 43.
* Zinchini punts and the Golden Eagles down it inside the APSU one-yard line.
* Governors showing a ground game, notching three first downs out to their own 40, drive going 39 yards so far. That's the end of the line, though, as two straight passes go incomplete. Ben Campbell punts and Vanlier catches it at the Tech 18. He breaks one tackle, but fumbles where Josh Smith recovers for Tech at the 15.
* Cates grabs a pass and is flipped through the air dramatically for the tackle at the APSU 34, bringing up fourth down for the Golden Eagles. Golden Eagles hurry to line up, but APSU calls time out. Ball at the 34 with 37 seconds to play. Play resumes and Stone's bullet is batted down, turning the ball over on downs with 33 seconds.
* Clocks runs out and it's halftime.
THIRD QUARTER NOTES
* Kickoff is short and Dametris Watson returns to the Tech 39. Stone goes for a first down on a quarterback draw and Golden Eagles into APSU territory,
* Third-and-3 at the 42, and Bush breaks loose, racing untouched for a touchdown. Harris kick makes it 14-0. The scoring drive was five plays and 61 yards, taking 1:53.
* Second consecutive game for Bush to score two rushing touchdowns.
* Fourth-and-four and Austin Tallant breaks up a pass attempt. Campbell in to punt....and it's a fake. He goes for a 19-yard pickup and a first down at the Tech 41.
* Fourth-and-seven, and Spivey completes a pass but Marty Jones and Laughlin stop the receiver short of the first down. Tech takes over at the Golden Eagle 34.
* Stone is loose, tripped up for a 20-yard gain. An ankle tackle by A.J. Gray prevents a breakaway touchdown. Another first down rush for Stone, and another. Golden Eagles first-and-10 at the APSU 13.
* Forbes dives into the end zone, but it's ruled that his knee is down inside the one. First-and-goal. Stephen Bush follows Jibrin Linge and Wesley Sherrill for his third touchdown of the game. PAT hits the upright, so score is 20-0 with 1:13 to play in the third quarter. Tech's TD drive took 14 plays to go 66 yards, and lasted 6:15.
* Hunter Branch stretches out for a catch and a first down, a 14-yard gain to the APSU 46, on the final play of the quarter. Tech leads, 20-0.
FOURTH QUARTER NOTES
* Campbell punts, and Vanlier is hit while attempting to make the catch for a penalty on the Govs. After 15-yard penatly, Tech takes over at the TTU 36.
* Screen pass to Cody Forbes and he takes it all the way to the APSU nine, a 45-yard gain.
* Darian Stone around left end for a nine-yard touchdown and a 27-0 lead after the PAT. Scoring drive of 79 yards took six plays and 2:59.
* Stone has rushed for 122 yards on 22 carries. It's the fifth time in his six career November games that he has topped 100 yards.
* Golden Eagle defense appears to be getting stronger. Hold for a three-and-out and Campbell to punt. It's downed at the TTU 29 with 9:22 to play.
* It's Stone, again, Breaks through and goes for 31 yards to the Gov 39. Fourth down...and a personal foul, unsportsmanlike penalty on APSU gives Tech a first down at the 19.
* Cody Forbes scores from the two, and Tech leads 34-0.
* APSU into Tech territroy, facing fourth-and two at the 30 with 30 seconds left. Complete pass for first down and out of bounds at the 25 with 21 seconds left.
* Cory McDonald blitzes, and bats down screen pass attempt with 17 seconds left.
* SACK. Malcolm Mitchell gets to QB Timarious Mitchell for loss of 10 yards. Timeout Govs with 10 seconds to play.
* Interception by Maleek Hall in the end zone with two seconds left preserve the shutout.