Golden Eagles downed by EKU Colonels in Homecoming clash

Golden Eagles downed by EKU Colonels in Homecoming clash

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech rolled up 554 yards of total offense, including 281 on the ground with big games from several players, but the Golden Eagles couldn't convert that into a victory Saturday. Tech dropped its 2010 Homecoming contest to Eastern Kentucky, 42-19, in front of 10,216 fans in Tucker Stadium.

Senior quarterback Cass Barnes passed for a career-best 273 yards and rushed 16 times for 68 yards to account for 341 yards of total offense. Senior Henry Sailes had 220 all-purpose yards, while senior Jocques Crawford rushed for 128 yards.

But those efforts couldn't offset an EKU attack that was 7-for-13 on third down conversions and managed 493 yards of offense including 214 on the ground and 279 through the air. Colonel quarterback T.J. Pryor passed for 279 yards and rushed for 100 more to account for 379 in total offense. H.B. Banjoman rushed for 103 yards and receiver Orlandus Harris grabbed nine passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns.

Tech made it through the game without a turnover while EKU suffered just one, an interception at the Tech two just seconds before halftime that proved to be a non-factor.

Tech (4-6 overall/3-4 OVC) will wrap up the season next Saturday at 4 p.m. when it hosts Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks (9-1/6-1 OVC) can clinch a share of the OVC title and the league's automatic entry into the FCS Playoffs on Saturday with a win over Tech.

Pregame Notes

* It's Homecoming on the Tennessee Tech campus as the Golden Eagles host Eastern Kentucky. Tech is 43-35-1 all-time in Homecoming games since the first one in 1930. Against EKU, the Golden Eagles have won just twice in eight tries on Homecoming, claiming victories in 1953 and 1955. The last time Tech hosted EKU for Homecoming was in 1989, when the Colonels escaped with a 21-20 victory.

* Tech is expected to play without several key players again this week, including quarterback Tre Lamb, runningbacks Dontey Gay and Tremaine Hudson, guard Scott Schweitzer, tackle Malcolm Jones, tight end Cory Powers, linebacker Will Jones and cornerback Caleb Mitchell.

* Weather should be ideal for a Homecoming game. The temperature is expected to be around 68 degrees with mostly clear and sunny skies at kickoff.

* The is the 67th meeting between these two squads, with EKU owning a lopsided 49-17 advantage in the all-time series. The Colonels won 22 consecutive years between 1976 and 1998. EKU won last year, 17-7, in a September meeting in Richmond. Tech's last win over EKU was by a 27-14 margin in 2006 on national TV.

* One game that the Golden Eagles will be watching closely is the contest between UT Martin and Tennessee State on the Skyhawks' home turf. A UTM win would give the Skyhawks the Sgt. York Trophy, but if TSU can pull the upset, the Golden Eagles will share the York Trophy that they captured in 2009.

* Two home games are all that remain in the Golden Eagle playing careers of 11 seniors. Tech will honor the seniors next week in pregame annoncements and introductions just prior to the 4 p.m. contest with Jacksonville State.

* Tim Benford needs two yards receiving to pass Derek Lee and move into fourth on the all-time list of Golden Eagle receivers. Benford is fifth with 1,961 yards. He is also ranked fourth in receptions with 137, needing nine to catch Craig Rolle in third place. If Benford would happen to have 11 receptions, he would catch Walter Hill in second place and also tie a school single-game record.

* Tech and EKU have played into overtime twice in the past, with each team getting one win. Tech earned a 31-29 victory in triple overtime in Cookeville in 1998, and the Colonels took a 23-20 win the following year in two overtimes.

* The Golden Eagles are decked out in all purple uniforms with gold trim and white helmets. EKU is wearing white jerseys and maroon pants with maroon helmets.

* For the coin toss, EKU captains are Jordan Dalrymple (51) and Chris Krack (72). For Tech, the captains at midfield are Kelechi Ordu (52), Dedrick Miley (96), Dustin Dillehay (45) and Henry Sailes (27).

* EKU won the toss and defers. Tech will receive.

First Quarter Notes

* Tech took the opening kickoff and drive 80 yards in 10 plays to grab a quick 7-0 lead. A 27-yard run by Jocques Crawford was a key play in the march, along with an unusual first-down pass completion from Cass Barnes to....Cass Barnes. The pass was batted back at the line of scrimmage to Barnes, who did a flip and gained the first down by inches. On second-and-14, Henry Sailes took a lateral from Zack Zeigler on a reverse and raced 37 yards down the left sideline for the score.

* EKU answered with a 63-yard, nine-play scoring drive. H.B. Banjoman broke free up the middle for a 21 yard run, and T.J. Pryor hit Orlandus HArris for a 13-yard TD to tie the score.

* The teams exchanged punts before Tech put together aseven-play, 49-yard drive that led to a 33-yard field goal by Matthew Barker for a 10-7 TTU lead with 12 seconds left in the quarter.

Second Quarter Notes

* EKU downed a punt inside the TTU one-yard line with about 12 minutes to play in the half, so the Golden Eagles ran three plays and punted. Nick Campbell unloaded a 50-yard kick, and the Colonels took over at the Tech 47. After a 13-yard completion to Harris, Pryor handed the ball to Banjoman who scooted up the middle for 34 yards and a touchdown, giving the Colonels a 14-10 lead.

* Jocques Crawford escaped on the left side, reversed his field and raced 59 yards to the EKU 25, leading to a 45-yard field goal by Barker to make it 14-13 with 7:02 remaining.

* Pryor hit Tyrone Goad deep over the middle on a 39-yard completion for an EKU touchdown with 4:18 remaining, lifting the Colonels to a 21-13 lead.

* Barnes direceted a 63-yard, eight-play Golden Eagle touchdown drive that pulled the home team to within one point, 21-20, just before halftime. Barnes rushed for 26 yards on the drive, including the final four for the TD.

* Corey Watson got his first career interception on the final play of the first half, picking off a long pass by Pryor at the two-yard line.

Third Quarter Notes

* Tech's defense held EKU to three-and-out to open the second half, and the Golden Eagles got things moving the other way. Tech, however, was whistled FOUR times for false start penalties on the possession. The Golden Eagles eventually stalled at the EKU 21 and Barker's 38-yard field goal try missed wide left.

* The Colonels used the momentum to flip the field quickly. A 16-yard pass to Harris was followed by a 12-yard completion to the all-OVC receiver. After a one-yard loss and another 15-yard completion to Harris, Pryor found daylight to the sidelines on the short side of the field and raced 37 yards for a touchdown and a 28-20 EKU lead.

* A 24-yard kickoff return by Henry Sailes got Tech underway and a 33-yard completion to Sailes put the Golden Eagles at the EKU five. Another false start penalty was crucial, and Tech settled for a 21-yard Barker field goal to make it 28-23

Fourth Quarter Notes

* The Colonels took advantage of another missed TTU field goal try to open the fourth quarter and marched 79 yards in 13 plays for a 35-23 lead. Harris caught passes for 21 and 18 yards, and the Golden Eagles were called for a facemask penalty inside the 20. Pryor hit Tyrone Goad with a five-yard TD pass.

* A huge call (non-call) came on Tech's next possession. Rolling to his left from the EKU 30, Barnes fired a pass toward a wide-open Colin Allen in the end zone. The defender, beaten for a touchdown, instead ran into Allen to draw a pass interference penalty and save the TD. Instead, it was ruled that the long pass was tipped and the play simply went as an incomplete pass. Tech's drive stalled with four consecutive incomplete passes.

* Running the clock down, the Colonels faced third-and-eight at their own 45. Tech came with a strong rush and the Colonels had the right call, as Pryor found a streaking Harris for a 55-yard TD connection and a 42-23 lead with 2:38 remaining.

* Barneshit Benford for 14 yards, Colin Allen for 17, then hit Beford with a 19-yard TD pass with 1:26 to play. The PAT was blocked for the final 42-29 margin.