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Golden Eagles win 28-21 at Eastern Kentucky, pull within one win of title

Tech will play for OVC Championship versus Austin Peay next week

RICHMOND, Ky. – Tre Lamb absorbed a hit, stayed on his feet and cut upfield, carrying in a four-yard touchdown run with 6:35 left in Tennessee Tech’s crucial Saturday game at Eastern Kentucky to break a 21-21 tie and give the Golden Eagles a lead they wouldn’t lose en route to a season-saving 28-21 victory over the Colonels.

With the win, Tech will play for its first OVC Championship since 1975 next Saturday when Austin Peay visits Tucker Stadium for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff. Tickets can be purchased at the Eblen Center box office or by calling (931) 372-3940.

The victory in Richmond was the first since 2000 while head coach Watson Brown earned his first victory over the Colonels of his tenure at TTU.

Eastern Kentucky took advantage of a Charlie Stevens fumble at midfield early in the fourth quarter, scoring on an 11-yard pass from T.J. Pryor to Tyrone Goard to tie the game at 21. A 38-yard run by Matt Denham set up the score for the Colonels, who came into Saturday with the opportunity to clinch at least a share of the OVC title with a victory.

Tech’s offense responded on the ensuing possession, however, moving downfield on a 12-yard pass from Lamb to Doug Page and then a 14-yard carry by Adam Urbano. The Golden Eagles then ran into trouble, drawing a holding penalty that ultimately led to a 3rd-and-11 play. But Lamb delivered a short screen pass to Dontey Gay, who carried it the rest of the way for a first down at the Eastern Kentucky 12-yard-line, setting up the touchdown run.

Eastern Kentucky attempted to put together a drive to answer, moving the ball into TTU territory to the 43-yard line but quarterback T.J. Pryor was sacked by Cory Webber on 3rd-and-10, forcing the Colonels to punt with 1:39 left on the clock. One Tennessee Tech first down later, and the Golden Eagles ran out the clock to secure the win.

Tech dominated the game statistically, racking up 367 yards of total offense while holding the Colonels to 194, but EKU scored two of its three touchdowns by taking advantage of short-field situations set up by Tech fumbles. The Colonels put the first points of the game on the board in the first quarter after Kevin Hamlin recovered a Tre Lamb fumble and returned it 34 yards to the Golden Eagle 7-yard-line.

In addition to its ability to move the ball offensively, Tech also got big plays from its defense and special teams. The Golden Eagles sacked EKU quarterback T.J. Pryor four times on the afternoon, two of which came by way of junior outside linebacker Marcus Edwards.

On special teams, freshman Tra’Darius Goff changed the course of the game by blocking a Jordan Berry punt with the score tied at 14 halfway through the third quarter. Tech recovered and took over possession at the Colonels’ 17-yard line, punching the ball in on a 1-yard carry by Dontey Gay to take a 21-14 lead.

With the exception of a first-quarter interception which Eastern Kentucky could not convert to points, Tech quarterback Tre Lamb was ruthlessly effective on the day, going 16-for-20 for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Lamb spread his 16 completions around to eight different receivers. Urbano gained the most yardage of any of those receivers, catching one pass for 31 yards.

Urbano also led the Golden Eagles’ rushing attack, carrying 24 times for 144 yards. Lamb had 16 rushes for 84 yards and Dontey Gay contributed 10 carries for 29 yards and a touchdown. Gay’s trip to the end zone was his 14th of the season, giving him the all-time Tech record for rushing touchdowns in a season.

After EKU took an early 7-0 lead, Tech evened the score on a six-yard pass from Lamb to Zack Ziegler that capped off a 12-play, 46-yard drive early in the second quarter.

The Colonels reclaimed the lead on a fourth-down conversion from the TTU 1-yard line with 8:45 left to play before halftime when Pryor faked a hand-off and rolled out to find Matt Lengel in the end zone. Tech would even things again, however, scoring with 3:18 left in the half on a 16-yard pass from Lamb to Cody Matthews to cap an 11-play, 80-yard march. The touchdown was the first-career for Matthews, a sophomore wide receiver.

Pregame Notes:
-Tennessee Tech has won the toss and deferred to the second half. Eastern Kentucky will receive to begin the game.
-Temperatures are expected to hover around 60 degrees throughout the game under sunny skies with windy conditions.
-Tim Benford can move into sole possession of first place on Tech's career touchdown catches list with one score today. He enters the game with 27 career touchdowns, tied for first. Benford became the school's all-time leader in receiving yardage in last week's game.

First Quarter
-EKU begins from its own 20 yard line after a touchback.
-Big defensive stop by the Golden Eagles' Jake McIntosh and Austin Tallant on 3rd and 1, forcing the Colonels three-and-out on their first possession. Nice tone-setting possession for the 'D'
-Tech takes over at its own 44 yard line after an EKU punt.
-Tre Lamb's deep third-down pass attempt intended for Tim Benford is intercepted by Eastern Kentucky's Brooklyn Fox, who returns down the home sideline to close to midfield. Personal foul penalty on EKU moves the ball back to the 23, where the Colonels start their drive.
-Howard Griffin stops EKU quarterback T.J. Pryor on a third-down run attempt, forcing the Colonels three-and-out once again. Defensive battle so far.
-Tech will begin its drive at the 50 yard line after the EKU punt.
-Lamb fumbles on a rush attempt up the middle, recovered by EKU's Kevin Hamlin and returned to the TTU 7-yard-line, where the Colonels will have first-and-goal.
-EKU's Caleb Watkins carries in a touchdown off tackle from one yard out. Point after is good, giving EKU a 7-0 lead with 8:29 left in the first quarter.
-Tennessee Tech will begin at its own 37-yard line.
-Dontey Gay gives TTU its first first-down of the afternoon on a carry out to the TTU 47-yard line.
-Tech's drive stalls around midfield and Nick Campbell punts to the Colonels. Touchback. EKU will begin at its own 20-yard-line.
-Incomplete pass by the Colonels on third down, completing Tech’s third three-and-out defensively of the first quarter.
-EKU punt goes out of bounds at the Colonel 46-yard line. Tech takes over first-and-10 in EKU territory.
-First-down completion from Lamb to Benford down the right sideline to the EKU 32-yard line.
-Lamb stopped on 3rd and 1 from the EKU 11 yard line, bringing up fourth down.
-Gay dives over the line for the first down as the Golden Eagles gamble and go for it, setting up first and goal from the nine-yard line.
-At the end of the first quarter, EKU leads 7-0.

Second Quarter
-Tech gets on the board with a six-yard TD pass from Lamb to Zack Ziegler in the corner of the end zone. Sharp adds PAT and game is tied 7-7 with 13:51 left in the first half
-EKU driving at the Tech 31-yard line, racking up some yardage and first downs on the ground.
-Pass interference called on the Golden Eagles on an EKU pass attempt into the end zone. Half the distance to the goal and the Colonels have first down at the 9 yard line.
-After 1-yard EKU touchdown pass from Pryor to Matt Lengel to put EKU up 14-7 at the 8:45 mark, Golden Eagles are inside the Colonel red zone at the 18-yard line facing third down and 10.
-Tre Lamb finds Cody Matthews for a 16-yard touchdown pitch and catch with 3:18 left in the half! Sharp adds PAT and the game is tied at 14-all.
-The touchdown was the first of Matthews' Tech career.
-EKU marching downfield in an attempt to score before the half, getting a 31-yard run from Denham. Colonels facing third down at the TTU 31.
-Tech's Tommie McBride comes up with the big sack of Pryor back at the 37 yard line, setting up 4th and 13 for the Colonels.
-54-yard field goal attempt by Luke Pray is short. Golden Eagles take over at EKU 37 with 38 seconds remaining in the half.
-Golden Eagles run out clock, go to halftime tied 14-14.
-At the half, Tech has 163 yards of total offense compared to 120 for Eastern Kentucky. The Golden Eagles are balanced with 79 yards passing and 84 rushing. EKU has 103 rushing yards and 17 passing yards.
-Trel Lamb is 9-for-11 for 79 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Dontey Gay is Tech's leading rusher, carrying nine times for 51 yards. Adam Urbano is the leading receiver, hauling in one pass for 31 yards. Austin Tallant has six tackles to lead the Tech defense.

Third Quarter
-Tennessee Tech fails to convert a first down on its first possession of the second half despite a valiant third-down effort by Tre Lamb on the quarterback keeper. Golden Eagles punt to EKU.
-Pass from Pryor intended for Matt Lengel is incomplete on third-and-5, setting up fourth down for the Colonels from their own 30.
-EKU punt is blocked by Tra'Darius Goff and Tech takes over first-and-10 at the EKU 17 yard line! Big play by the freshman from Columbia, Tenn.
-Dontey Gay converts 3rd and 1, giving Tech first and goal from the six-yard line.
-Adam Urbano fights his way to the one-yard-line on 3rd down, giving Tech 4th and goal to go from the one.
-Handoff goes to Gay and he's over the top and in the end zone! Touchdown Tech! Sharp adds the PAT and the Golden Eagles are up 21-14 with 8:44 left to play in the third quarter. Tech is able to capitalize on the blocked punt by freshman Tra'Darius Goff.
-EKU begins its drive at its own 39 yard line.
-Howard Griffin comes in on the blitz and sacks Pryor, foiling an EKU 3rd-and-6 attempt and forcing the Colonels into 4th-and-16 from their own 33.
-Tech will start its drive at its own 39-yard-line.
-Huge run by Adam Urbano! The junior running back shows off his breakaway speed on a long jaunt down the left sideline all the way to the EKU 6-yard line. It was a 55-yard run to set up the Golden Eagles first and goal.
-Urbano now has 14 carries for 94 yards.
-Gay stopped on third down, Tech facing 4th and goal from the 2 yard line.
-Tech elects to kick but Sharp can't connect on the attempt. Golden Eagles come up empty-handed after long run by Urbano.
-Another third-down sack of Pryor as Marcus Edwards brings down the EKU quarterback this time, setting up 4th and 19 from the EKU 11 yard line. Tech could get good field position as it returns to offense.
-Nice punt by EKU's Jordan Berry is fair caught at the Tech 31-yard line, where the Golden Eagles will start.
-EKU forces Tech three-and-out and Golden Eagles will punt the ball on 4th and 13 from their own 29.
-Punt goes out of bounds at the EKU 37 yard line, where the Colonels take over.
-Gay's touchdown run earlier in the quarter tied the school record of 14 in a season.
-Corey Watson delivers a big hit on EKU receiver H.B. Banjoman to stop the Colonels three and out and force a fourth-down punt.
-Tennessee Tech takes over first and 10 from its own 25 yard line.
-At end of third quarter, Tech leads 21-14 and has possession of the ball.

Fourth quarter
-Lamb completes pass to Charlie Stevens, but Stevens fumbles on the play, recovered by EKU.
-Thirty-eight yard run by Matt Denham sets up 11-yard touchdown pass from Pryor to Tyrone Goard. Extra point is good and the game is tied 21-21 with 11:11 remaining.
-TTU will begin its drive at its own 42 yard line. First and 10.
-Lamb dives across the first-down marker on a 3rd-and-2 quarterback keeper, giving the Golden Eagles first down at the 50.
-Another first down as Lamb delivers a 14-yard pass over the middle to Doug Page, who absorbs a big hit but gets Tech down to the EKU 36 yard line.
-Golden Eagles really moving the ball now as Urbano delivers a first-down run, breaking several tackles on first down to get Tech down to the 22-yard line with 9:00 left to play.
-After a holding penalty sets the Golden Eagles back, Lamb delivers a screen pass to Gay, who carries for a first down at the EKU 12-yard line. Eleven-yard gain on the play.
-Lamb fakes handoff to Urbano, keeps and dives across the goal line for a Tech touchdown! Sharp extra points gives Golden Eagles 28-21 lead with 6:35 left to play!
-Lamb has accounted for three of Tech's four scores today, two through the air and one on the ground. He is 16-for-20 for 126 passing yards and has carried 15 times for 77 rushing yards.
-EKU takes over at its own 17 after a penalty negated a nice kick return.
-Pryor delivers big third-down completion to Cameron Bailey on third and 8, setting up the Colonels with first down at their own 44.
-EKU now facing 4th and 2 at the 48 after a big Tech stop on third down and short.
-Tech jumps offsides, giving Colonels first down at the TTU 44 yard line.
-Golden Eagles come up with a huge third-down sack, forcing 4th and 20 for the Colonels, who punt to Tech. TTU takes over at own 23 with 1:39 left.
-Cory Webber had the sack on the play. EKU calls timeout with 1:28 left after a three-yard Adam Urbano run.
-EKU calls their second time out after another Urbano run. Tech facing 3rd and 4 with 1:23 left.
-Tre Lamb absorbs a hit, then turns upfield and carries for a TTU first down! Clock is running, TTU at their own 36!!!
-Golden Eagles win in Richmond for the first time since 2000. First time Watson Brown has defeated the Colonels. Final 28-21.