By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
MURRAY, Ky. – Dontez Byrd broke the Tennessee Tech single-season receiving yardage record for the second straight year as the Golden Eagles were unable to rally against Murray State on Saturday, falling 31-21 at Roy Stewart Stadium.
Tech falls to 1-9 on the season, 1-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Byrd caught 12 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown in the contest, which put him at 976 yards on the year on 72 catches. That puts him two catches away from tying his own single-season receptions record with 74 catches.
Byrd had 74 catches for 933 yards in 2016, but eclipsed that mark on Saturday as he looks to become the first Tech receiver to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.
The advantage held for nearly a full quarter before Jordon Gandy made a big catch for 62 yards and a score with 9:10 remaining in the first half.
The Racers (3-7, 2-4 OVC) scored 21 consecutive points before Tech answered again midway in the third quarter as Andrew Goldsmith caught a 24-yard touchdown from Ward.
Gandy caught a second long scoring pass from Murray State quarterback Shuler Bentley for its final score of the contest in the third period.
Byrd caught his touchdown, a three-yard pass, following a drive-saving play by R.D. Ford. Tavin Kilpatrick caught a pass and had it knocked out of his hands, but Ford was there to claim it and keep the drive going.
Murray State, who had struggled to rush the ball this season, was able to put together 167 yards on 33 carries, while Tech was held to 94 on 38 totes. D.J. Penick had 139 of the 167 yards on 19 carries, including two touchdowns.
Gandy, meanwhile, caught eight passes for 160 yards and two scores. Bentley completed 23 of his 39 passes for 234 yards.
For the Golden Eagles, Ward completed 19 of his 39 tosses for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Goldsmith also led Tech in rushing with 12 carries for 35 yards, while Aderick Moore had one carry for 30 yards on a fake punt.
Tech fumbled the ball six times in the contest, but lost two.
Tech returns to action on Saturday for its final game of the 2017 campaign as the Golden Eagles host UT Martin at Tucker Stadium, starting at 1:30 p.m.
Photo by Tony Marable