Byrd sets new marks as Tech closes out season

Byrd sets new marks as Tech closes out season

By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – And the 2017 season is in the books.

The Tennessee Tech football team honored its senior class and saw one of those reach new heights.

As the final buzzer sounded, the 24-0 loss to UT Martin wasn't important. For head coach Marcus Satterfield and his staff, his Golden Eagle players, their eyes were on the future.

Now with the 2017 campaign in the rear view, it's all about getting better.

But Saturday wasn't an easy day to get much offense going. With high winds and a persistent mist, neither offense was putting a lot of points on the board. The Skyhawks (6-5, 4-4 Ohio Valley Conference) were able to post 389 yards, but only had 10 points in the first half, then added two touchdowns in the final period of play.

Tech was able to pick up 184 yards of offense, but the biggest 27 were probably the 27 yards to Dontez Byrd on six catches. That set a new single-season Tech record for receptions with 78 and finished with a single-season best 1,003 yards, becoming the first Golden Eagle receiver to break the 1,000-yard mark for a season. Byrd, in breaking his record, was selected as the First National Bank of Tennessee-Special Olympics Player of the Game.

Luke Ward ended the game with 129 yards on 17-of-35 passing.

Tech's rushing attack struggled against the conditions and the Martin defense, collecting 55 yards on 21 carries. Andrew Goldsmith led the Golden Eagles with nine carries for 15 yards.

Defensively, it was a double-figure day for Aderick Moore, who made 12 tackles, including one for-loss.

UTM quarterback Dresser Winn completed 13 of his 22 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Londell Lee and Caylon Weathers hauled in touchdown catches of 16 and four yards respectively. Winn also ran for a 15-yard touchdown and Mitch Mersman hit a 21-yard field goal to complete the Skyhawks' scoring.

It was the first game Tech had been shutout since falling 55-0 at Tennessee last season. The game is the first time the Golden Eagles have been shutout at Tucker Stadium or in the OVC since a 19-0 loss to Eastern Kentucky on October 26, 2002.

Photo by Tony Marable