By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech had 14 points on the board before Tennessee State even ran an offensive play. But as the game wore on the visiting Tigers surged back and a late punt sealed the game for TSU 37-27.
But as the 2019 season comes to a close, a 6-6 record for the Golden Eagles and 3-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference, there are so many positives to take away.
Tech had its most wins since the 2011 campaign. The Golden Eagles tied for the second-best turnaround in the Football Championship Subdivision as Tech, UT Martin and Southern Illinois all improved on last year's tally with five more wins. After back-to-back 1-10 seasons, the progress completed this season was phenomenal.
There's no denying the future ahead is bright for the Golden Eagles, but Saturday was about celebrating the guys who helped get the program where it is at – the 21 seniors who wrapped up their careers with the game.
Many of the seniors had big games. Andrew Goldsmith put Tech on the board very quickly as he scored a three-yard touchdown run on the Golden Eagles' first drive, then, after a special teams miscue with Samari Burns recovering the fumble, Goldsmith found paydirt again with a nine-yard touchdown run.
Following a drive that ended on downs, Tech scored on its next two drives as Haidar Zaidan knocked through field goals from 23 and 32 yards to go up 20-0 with 6:06 remaining in the first half.
Seth Rowland put the Tigers on the scoreboard with a 35-yard touchdown run, then the Golden Eagles countered as Bailey Fisher completed a 45-yard touchdown strike to David Gist. That pass put Fisher past Michael Birdsong for the most passing yards in a single season, then his 20th passing attempt of the game saw Fisher pass Robert Craft for the most passing attempts in a year.
In all, Fisher broke six single-season records in the 2019 campaign – passing yards, completions, attempts, passing touchdowns, total offensive yards and combined rushing and passing touchdowns.
However, those were all the points Tech scored in the game. TSU rallied with 30 unanswered points to take the victory.
Antonio Zita kicked a 30-yard field goal just before halftime, then Te'Kendrick Roberson scored on a 14-yard run with the two-point conversion failing to make it 27-16 Tech. Cameron Rosendahl completed a 32-yard scoring pass to Chris Rowland to close out the quarter, then DeMarco Corbin put the Tigers up 30-27 with 6:34 remaining.
Tech went back to punt on its next drive, but with the misty and windy conditions, the ball was juggled, leading to a block. Jordan Bell recovered the ball in the end zone, giving TSU its final score of the game.
Fisher ended the game with 171 yards on 12-for-23 passing, while rushing for 93 yards. David Gist ran for 107 yards on 18 carries, while Goldsmith had 48 yards on seven carries. Gist also had two catches for 54 yards and a score as he ended the contest with 161 all-purpose yards, while Metrius Fleming had four catches for 44 yards.
Aderick Moore ended the game with 11 tackles, including three for-loss, while Shannon Fayne ended the game with seven tackles, one for-loss, with a pass breakup and nearly missed an interception in the end zone in the first half.
Rosendahl ended the game with 225 yards on 23-of-30 passing, while Chris Rowland had 12 catches for 148 yards and a score. Roberson had 70 yards on 15 carries.
Photo | Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information