By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
and Rob Schabert, TTU Sports Information Director
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – After falling behind 7-0 on the
opening drive, the Tennessee State Tigers scored 34 unanswered
points on the way to handing Tennessee Tech a 41-21 loss Saturday
night in Tucker Stadium in the Ohio Valley Conference opener for
TSU (3-1/1-0 OVC) found its offense through the air, with quarterbacks Ronald Butler and Michael German combining to pass for 343 yards and four touchdowns. A.C Leonard had five catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yard strike in the third quarter.
The Golden Eagles (2-2/0-1 OVC) scored on a 79-yard, 12-play drive from the opening kickoff for a 7-0 lead but made numerous critical mistakes including losing three turnovers and being whistled for nine penalties for 65 yards.
The first touchdown was scored by Golden Eagle senior center James Normand, who recovered a fumble in the end zone when quarterback Darian Stone fumbled trying to cross the goal line on a third-and-one.
TSU answered with a 47-yard touchdown pass from Butler to Ryan Mitchell, and five minutes later took advantage of a Golden Eagle fumble at the Tech one-yard line to set up an easy second score and a 14-7 lead.
Jamin Godfrey kicked field goals of 39 yards in the second quarter and 22 yards in the third to make it a 20-7 lead, setting the stage for the bomb to Leonard that made it 27-7. Leonard grabbed a three-yard pass for a 34-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Backup quarterback Jared Davis ralied Tech with back-to-back touchdown drives, the first culminating in a six-yard pass to Steve Wilson and the second resulting in a one-yard run by the redshirt freshman signal-caller from Tullahoma to make it 34-21.
Expecting TSU to run out the clock with the two touchdown lead, the Golden Eagles were caught by surprise when German heaved a 43-yard touchdown ass to Lavatiae Kelly with 1:10 to play for the final score.
Tennessee State finished with 438 yards of offense, despite being held to just 95 rushing yards. Tech had 301 yards of offense, rushing for 136 and passing for 165.
Defensively, Tra'Darius Goff paced Tech with 11 tackles while Marty Jones added eight and Jordan Johnson had seven, incuding two tackles-for-loss.
The Golden Eagles remain home next week to host a non-conference game against Indiana State. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., on Faith, Fmaily and Youth Night.
- Tennessee Tech and Tennessee State will open Ohio Valley Conference play, competing in the first league contest of the season.
- The Tigers own the series advantage, 16-10, and have won the previous two match-ups by a grand total of three points.
- Tonight's game marks the start of the race for the Sgt. York Trophy. Tech will host all three Tennessee School this season.
- Both teams come into tonight's contest 2-1 and having won their previous contest. Tech beat Hampton, 30-27, on the road while TSU took down Jackson State, 26-16, on neutral turf.
- The Golden Eagles rank second in the OVC in total defense while the Tigers rank first.
- Today's game captains for Tech are #16 Zack Ziegler, #60 James Normand, #94 Malcolm Mitchell, and #99 Jordan Johnson.
- Tech has won the toss and elected to receive to start the game.
FIRST QUARTER NOTES
- Cody Forbes returns the ball to the 20-yard line as we are under way in Cookeville.
- Quarterback Darian Stone rips a 19-yard rush and is barely tripped up as Tech reaches the 50-yard line.
- Golden Eagles really moving the ball well. They are now in the red zone after a 20-yard completion from Stone to Cody Matthews. Ball is on the Tennessee State two-yard line.
- TOUCHDOWN!!!! Darian Stone muffs the snap at the one-yard line, but senior center James Normand scores his first career touchdown by recovering the fumble in the endzone!
- The score is the first points the Tigers have given up on defense in the first quarter this season.
- Tech leads 7-0 with 8:54 to play.
- Tennessee State scores on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Ronald Butler to Ryan Mitchell.
- Game is tied at 7-7 with 5:08 to go in the first quarter.
- Chad Zinchini will enter to punt from his own endzone. He crushes one with a favorable bounce. It goes 59 yards and TSU will take over on its own 33-yard line with 3:07 to play in the first quarter.
- Malcolm Mitchell with a great pass break-up and TSU will punt.
- Tech takes over on its own one-yard line after a great punt by the Tigers. Just 44 seconds to go in the first quarter.
- Golden Eagles fumble and TSU recovers at the Tech one-yard line.
- Tim Broughton busts his way in for a touchdown and TSU takes the 14-7 lead with 33 seconds left in the first quarter.
- At the end of the first quarter, Tennessee State leads Tennessee Tech 14-7.
SECOND QUARTER NOTES
- Zinchini back in the game and punts it for 38 yards out of bounds at the TSU 32-yard line.
- SACK!!!! Midoho Okpokowuruk and Kevin Robinson-White combine to bring down the Tigers' quarterback and force a long third down.
- TSU kicker Jamin Godfrey attempts a 39-yard field goal.
- It's good. Tennessee State leads 17-7 with 8:24 to play in the first half.
- Tech starting to drive the ball again, the team crosses the 50 and is working towards another score.
- Big pass play from Stone to Stephen Bush. It goes for 19 yards and Tech is at the TSU 25-yard line with 6:02 to play.
- Zach Sharp out to attempt a 46-yard field goal.
- It's blocked by Wilson Robinson and TSU recovers at its own 37-yard line.
- INTERCEPTION!!!! Bill Dillard makes a diving pick after a pass attempt by Ronald Butler goes off his receiver's finger tips!
- Tech takes over on the Tigers' 39-yard line with 4:14 to play in the first half.
- Zinchini in to attempt a punt. He boots it to the TSU 15-yard line.
- Big tackle by Jordan Johnson, forces the Tigers for a three-yard loss.
- Tech takes over on its own 47-yard line with 2:19 to go in the first quarter.
- Zinchini out to punt and he boots it 47 yards to the TSU 35-yard line. Just 1:15 left in the first half.
- Godfrey out there for a 52-yard field goal attempt for TSU.
- It's no good as it falls short and Tech will take a knee with two seconds left.
- The Tigers lead the Golden Eagles 17-7 at the half.
THIRD QUARTER NOTES
- Tennessee State returns the kickoff to its own 41-yard line and we under way in the second half.
- A quick three-and-out by the Tigers will force them to bring in the punt unit.
- The punt bounces down to the TTU five-yard line and Tech takes over with 14:00 to go in the third quarter.
- Zinchini will punt and he BOOMS a 63-yard punt. TSU will take over on its own 23-yard line after an illegal block in the back.
- BIG LOSS forced by Jordan Johnson and Midoho Okpokowuruk! TSU loses five yards and combined with two false starts, has second and 25 yards to go.
- Tech forces a Tiger punt. Leon Holderhead boots it 36 yards and Tech will take over on its own 42-yard line.
- TSU defensive back David Van Dyke intercepts a pass and the Tigers take over on their own 48-yard line.
- TSU is stuffed on third down and will have fourth-and-five at the Tech 30-yard line. The Tigers are going for it.
- The Tigers convert and have first and goal at the three-yard line.
- TTU holds the Tigers and they will have to attempt a 22-yard field goal.
- It's good and TSU takes a 20-7 lead with 5:24 to go in the third quarter.
- Ladarius Vanlier returns the ball to the Tech 26-yard line and the Golden Eagle drive begins.
- Zinchini out to punt and he puts it at the TSU 19-yard line for a 41-yard punt. The Tigers return it one yard.
- Touchdown pass from TSU's Michael German to A.C. Leonard goes 80 yards. Tennessee State now leads 27-7 with 2:46 to play in the third quarter.
- TSU recovers the onsides kick and takes over on its own 47-yard line.
- Tech forces the Tigers to punt and Maleek Hall returns it to the 15-yard line.
- Vanlier with a big first-down run and he gets an extra 15 yards on a face mask. Tech up to its own 45-yard line.
- Stone rushes for 14 more yards and gets another first down.
- At the end of the third quarter, TSU leads Tech 27-7.
FOURTH QUARTER NOTES
- TSU forces a fumble and will recover it on its own 42-yard line.
- Touchdown pass from German to Leonard and TSU takes a 34-7 lead with 10:07 to play.
- Jared Davis enters the game for the Golden Eagles.
- Tech crosses in the redzone after a catch and 15-yard penalty by TSU.
- Neil Gannaway with a 13-yard reception and Tech has a first-and-goal at the TSU six.
- TOUCHDOWN!!!! Jared Davis connects with Steve Wilson and Tech now trails 34-14 with 7:27 to play.
- TSU takes over on its own 35-yard line.
- FUMBLE!!!!! Tech recovers the fumble at the Tennessee State 37-yard line with 7:14 to go.
- BIG GRAB by Krys Cates on fourth-and-five and Tech converts the first down and is in the redzone again.
- TOUCHDOWN!!!!! Jared Davis sneaks in on third-and-one and Tech cuts the lead to 34-21 with 2:49 to play.
- Tech's onsides kick attempt is recovered by TSU at the Golden Eagle 46-yard line with 2:49 to go.
- Touchdown Tennessee State. German connects with Lavatiae Kelly for a 43-yard touchdown with 1:10 to go. The Tigers now lead 41-21.
- Turnover-on-downs and TSU takes over on its own 45-yard line.
- TSU takes a knee and the game is over.
- The final score is Tennessee State 41, Tennessee Tech 21.