Weather halts game early, Golden Eagles earn 43-0 victory over Lane

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Lighting struck early for the Golden Eagles as they built a quick lead, then bad weather followed, forcing officials to halt the game with 5:01 remaining in the second quarter as Tennessee Tech earned a 43-0 victory over Lane College Thursday night in Tucker Stadium.

The win was Tech's first of the season (1-2) and the team's sixth consecutive victory on its home field. Lane (0-4) was the first Golden Eagle opponent from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Dontey Gay (photo at right) rushed for two touchdowns to pace the offense, finishing with 89 yards on just seven carries. Jocques Crawford (bottom photo) had six carries for 57 yards including a four-yard TD run to open the scoring.

Meanwhile, the defense added a pair of scores in a game that last just 24:59. Marty Jones (photo) returned an interception 32 yards for Tech's third TD to make it 20-0, and Travis Adkins plucked a fumble out of mid-air and raced 17 yards to paydirt for the final touchdown and a 41-0 lead with 11:13 to play in the second quyarter.

The final points came on a safety when the Lane punter ran out the back of the end zone followed a low, bouncing snap.

The Tech defense limited Lane to a minus 23 yards of total offense, setting a school record for fewest yards allowed. The Dragons had minus 23 rushing yards on 15 carries, picking up 15 yards but losing 38. Lane was 0-for-2 passing for zero yards. Tech set another school record by holding the Dragons without a first down.

Tre Lamb was 4-for-6 passing for the Golden Eagles for 47 yards, throwing a seven-yard TD pass to Tim Benford early in the second quarter that made it a 34-0 margin.

A highlight of the night was Henry Sailes' punt returns. He returned three punts for 71 yards, an average of nearly 24 yards per return.

Defensively, Will Johnson led Tech with five tackles, a quarterback sack and a fumble forced.

There was a 30-minute delay for lightning with 12:10 to play in the second quarter with Tech leadin 27-0. The teams left the field and many of the 8,522 fans left the stadium. When play resumed, the Golden Eagles scored two plays later for a 34-0 lead.

Six minutes later, more lightning flashed in the Cookeville sky and once again the field was cleared. Officials discussed the situation with the head coaches and declared that the first half was finished. There would be a 30-minute delay and the game would resume in the third quarter.

However, heavy rains came and more lightning. Following another lengthy delay, the officials met with the coaches and checked the NCAA rules book, and the decision was made to officially end the game at that point.

The Golden Eagles now have extra time to prepare for their next game, which is their Ohio Valley Conference opener at Southeast Missouri on Saturday, Sept. 25. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. in Houck Stadium in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

First Quarter Notes:

* Tennessee Tech wins the coin toss and elects to receive the kick. Tre Lamb fills the role as the starting quarterback for Tech, working with receivers in Henry Sailes and Tim Benford, and running backs Jocques Crawford, Zack Ziegler and Dontey Gay.

* The opening kickoff by Lane College sailed out-of-bounds, putting Tech on the 30 to start the game. Dontey Gay rushed for 22 yards and Lamb made two complete passes to Sailes and Benford to bring the Golden Eagles to the Lane 10. Crawford finished the drive the put Tech on the board first, 6-0 less than five minutes into the first quarter (10:39).

* A four-play, 42-yard drive gives Tennessee Tech their second touchdown of the game when Dontey Gay rushed for 14 yards to the endzone. Transfer kicker Matt Barker's second attempt on the night brought the lead to 13-0 in favor of the Golden Eagles at 6:23.

* Less than a minute later (5:37), an interception on Terrell Smith at the Lane 32 by no. 11 Marty Jones yielded the third touchdown of the quarter for Tech (32-yard return). Barker added the extra point to make the score 20-0.

* Lamb's handoff to no. 25 Dontey Gay fueled a 39-yard rush ending in a two play, 47-yard drive to the endzone for Tech. With Barker's third successful extra point, the score sits at 27-0, Tech with 3:01 left in the first quarter.

* Tech rushed for a combined 126 yards in the first quarter to Lane's six yards, and passed for 36 yards while Lane College gained nothing on two passing attempts.

Second Quarter Notes:

* A 30 minute game delay due to lightning came with 12:10 left in the second quarter.

* Upon resuming the game, Lamb connected with Benford twice for a total of 11 passing yards into the endzone, giving Tech a 34-0 lead after Barker's extra point kick.

* Lane quarterback no. 17 Travis Elesby was hit on an attempted pass by no. 4 Mauricio Wallace to force a fumble in the air. The ball was snatched for a fumble recovery in the air by defensive lineman Travis Adkins and returned for a touchdown to bring the score to 40-0 with 11:13 on the clock. Adkins' touchdown marks the second of the game scored by the TTU defense. Barker kicked the extra point for a 41-0 score.

* On the second down with 12 to go for Lane College in their own end of the field, Elesby was sacked by inside linebacker Kelechi Ordu for a loss of five yards.

* A bad snap to the Lane College punter Brian Wooten resulted in a safety, as the low snap bounced and Wooten recovered the ball out of bounds behind the end zone. Wooten punted for 63 yards from the Lane 20, which was returned by Sailes to the Tech 33.

* Cass Barnes entered the game at quarterback for the Golden Eagles relieving Tre Lamb who passed for 83 yards and rushed for 10. TTU held the ball for exactly three minutes before punting it to the Lane one-yard line.

* With 5:01 on the clock, another lightening delay was called by the officials. It was determined that the remainder of the first half would be cancelled. The second half of the game will resume following a 30 minute halftime/weather delay.

* At 9:19 pm, it was determined that the remainder of the game would be cancelled. A total of 24:59 mintues were played total, making this the shortest complete game in Tech history with a final score of 43-0.

Pregame Notes:

* The Golden Eagles will be facing off against the Lane College Dragons under partly cloudy skies in warm, humid conditions Thursday evening.

* Temperatures will top out at about 80 degrees for kickoff and are expected to hover in the mid-70's for the duration of the game. Humidity will max out at about 83% with chances of percipitation topping out at 40% around 8 p.m.

* The Golden Eagles are dressed in all purple, while Lane College is sporting all white for this evening's matchup.

* Both teams will be looking to notch their first victory of the season with tonight's contest; the Dragon's are 0-3 coming to Tech while the Golden Eagles compiled a 0-2 record against two Top 25 teams in Arkansas and TCU.

* A hardcore running team, the Dragons have attempted only a combined 22 passes over the course of their first three games.

* Lane College has yet to covert on a fourth down this season, going 0-10 on fourth down attempts. The Dragons have a 37% conversion percentage on third downs.

* The Golden Eagles come into tonight's game with a five game winning streak at home, having gone undefeated in Tucker Stadium during the 2009 season.

* Tonight's game marks the first time that these two teams will meet, and the first time that Tech has ever played a team from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

* The home opener is also Communiversity Night at TTU, a joint effort between Tech Athletics and the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce in which local businesses are invited as special guests.

* TTU head coach Watson Brown's teams have never lost a home opener, going 3-0 in his three seasons at Tech by defeating Cumberland, Gardner-Webb and Pikeville. The Golden Eagles have won 11 of their last 12 home openers, falling only to Chattanooga in 2006.

* The Golden Eagles were listed at fourth in the preseason OVC coach's poll behind Jacksonville State, Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Illinois.

* Three Golden Eagles were honored as first-team all-OVC at the conclusion of the 2009 season in Tim Benford, Slade Adams and Caleb Mitchell.

* Tim Benford has climbed to ninth in career receptions with 99. He needs three catches to move to eighth place and five receptions to jump to seventh. With 12 more catches, he'll vault all the way to fifth place all time.

* Henry Sailes as 1,333 yards in kickoff returns, putting him second in Tech history, just 85 yards behind Gerald Bentley with 1,418.

* The Golden Eagles come into the evening's matchup with a -1 turnover margin, while Lane College is -5 in turnovers.