By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The last time Tennessee Tech saw victory over Jacksonville State in Cookeville was a come-from-behind victory that spoiled the Gamecocks' Ohio Valley Conference championship bid in 2010. The following year, the Golden Eagles won the OVC's automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Granted, that's talking about a year from now. Tennessee Tech head coach Dewayne Alexander isn't finished talking about this year yet.
With the 37-27 victory over Jacksonville State in Saturday's Homecoming game, which snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Gamecocks, the Golden Eagles improve to 6-4 on the season – the most wins since going 7-4 in 2011 and tied for the 16th most wins in a single-season in Tech's 98 seasons of play.
And as the Golden Eagles celebrated the 150th anniversary of College Football, it was almost fitting that they won their 150th game in Tucker Stadium.
Bailey Fisher, Tech's sophomore quarterback, put the offense on his back as he rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns – the first Golden Eagle quarterback to rush for over 100 yards since Brock McCoin's 115-yard rushing game against Austin Peay in 2015 – while also completing 20 of his 27 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns for 334 yards of total offense.
Senior kicker Haidar Zaidan also made a strong case for himself for the league's specialist of the week as he went 3-for-3 on field goals, including a career-long 54-yard kick. He also connected from 28 and 21 to add to the Golden Eagle lead. He was also 4-for-4 on PATs, putting him at 13 of the Golden Eagles' 37 points.
Tech ended the game with 398 yards of total offense. The Golden Eagles were also a perfect 5-for-5 in the red zone.
Meanwhile, JSU's Zerrick Cooper still threw for 312 yards as he completed 28 of his 41 passes with three touchdowns, including two to Josh Pearson to extend his school-record touchdown total to 30. The wideout also ended the game with 142 yards on eight catches.
The Gamecocks also rushed for 139 yards to finish the contest with 451 offensive yards.
The big thing was that the Golden Eagles' defense – particularly the defensive line – found ways to make stops as JSU was only able to get within the Tech 20 three times in the contest. Seth Carlisle ended the game with 11 tackles to lead the Golden Eagles, while Cameron Hudson (seven tackles) had a fumble recovery and Tai Carter (two tackles) had an interception.
Chris Tucker, Henry Karimu and Jale'n Gladney also recorded sacks to put pressure on Cooper. The Golden Eagles ended the day with seven tackles-for-loss for 23 yards, while also breaking up four passes and three QB hurries.
Tech was also able to control time of possession, holding a 35:08 to 24:52 advantage.
The Golden Eagles improve to 48-40-1 all-time on Homecoming.
Tech (6-4, 3-3 OVC) returns to action next week as it hits the road for the final time in the 2019 regular season as the team travels to Eastern Kentucky. Kickoff is set for noon Central.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information