COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech football team went through its final spring paces Saturday afternoon with the annual Purple vs. Gold Game in Tucker Stadium. While the fans enjoyed great plays from both the offense and the defense, the Golden Eagle coaching staff added plenty of video to evaluate in the coming days and weeks.
For the record, the offense found the end zone five times and added a field goal, grinding out 465 total yards in 76 plays with a balanced attack. The passing game had 197 yards on 31 plays with one touchdown, while the running game had 39 snaps and piled up 268 yards and four scores.
But it wasn’t all offense this time around. The defense had six quarterback sacks, one interception, broke up six passes and added three tackles-for-loss. Six different players were credited with sacks – Joe Robertson, Mike Cain, Corey DeBoe, Senquay Eicehlberger, Chris McElderry and Kyron Hart.
Linebacker Trey Thompson had the interception, pulling down a pass that had been deflected and returning it 36 yards. Like the sacks, the passes were knocked down by six different defenders. The list includes a spectacular play by Bill Dillard and a touchdown-saving deflection by Demario Donnell.
Quarterback Jared Davis looked sharp, passing for 93 yards including an eight-yard touchdown to Steve Wilson. He was 11-for-18 with the one interception on a pass that was on target but not caught.
Transfer quarterback Colby Brown didn’t fare as well, going 4-for-11 for 48 yards, and adding three carries for 23 yards.
Redshirt freshman Ty Jobe was the third signal-caller. He was 6-for-8 for 56 yards, and rushed three times for 36 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown scamper. He was victimized by four sacks.
Brock McCoin caught six passes for 48 yards, while Tyler Harrell led the receivers with 51 yards on three catches. Dorian Eskridge caught three passes for 27 yards late in the day.
The leading rusher was redshirt freshman Dorian Carter, whose 51-yard run early in the day helped him gain 87 yards in seven carries. Radir Annoor (photo above) added 36 yards in four tries and Ladarius Vanlier finished with 32 yards on three carries.
Deven Sullivan got the call near the goal line, finishing the day with five carries for 12 yards, including two touchdowns. Jared Davis reached the end zone, and finished with 33 rushing yards on eight carries.
The defense came up with big plays early on, stopping a pair of possessions. Davis then directed a nine-play, 35-yard scoring drive that featured McCoin on the receiving end of three passes and Cory Malone getting another. Davis scored from one yard out, and John Arnold kicked the first of his five PATs.
Carter’s 51-yard explosion came on the next play, and Jobe took it 14 yards to account for a two-play, 65-yard touchdown drive.
Since the score came so quickly, the coaches left Jobe at the controls for the next possession and he got things started with a six-yard completion to Harrell. The defense stepped up, however, sacking Jobe on three consecutive snaps to halt the drive.
Vanlier, Carter and Davis accounted for most of the next drive, a 65-yard march in eight plays, including a 25-yard burst from Vanlier. Sullivan scored from two yards out to cap the possession.
On the next possession, it was Brown who was sacked on third-and-10. The half came to a close on Thompson’s interception and return.
Davis directed a 16-play, 75-yard drive to start the second half, hitting Wilson for the final play from the eight. One of the key plays in the drive was a catch by fullback Cooper Jackson, who took a ferocious hit and kept moving for a 13-yard pickup and first down. Twice Davis ran for first downs.
Brown collected a 65-yard scoring drive, moving his unit in nine plays with Sullivan scoring from the one. The big hits were a 34-yard pass to Harrell and a 21-yard run by Brown to the five.
Jobe got one more shot at it and moved the team 59 yards to a first-and-goal at the six, but the offense had to settle for a 26 yard Arnold field goal following Hart’s sack at the 12.