Tech will learn its FCS playoff plans Sunday morning
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — It was a long time coming, but the 36-year drought made Tennessee Tech's 2011 Ohio Valley Conference championship victory Saturday that much sweeter.
The Golden Eagles used a big third quarter to dispatch in-state rival Austin Peay, 49-7, en route to claiming the school's first league title since 1975.
Officially, the Golden Eagles finish in a three-way tie atop the conference with Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State, but by virtue of head-to-head victories over both EKU and JSU, Tech receives the OVC's automatic berth to the FCS playoffs. The Golden Eagles will find out their opponent at 9 a.m. Sunday via the nationally televised selection show on ESPNU.
A crowd of 9,142 reveled in the celebration along with their team. Students swarmed the field in the game's closing seconds and Tech was presented the OVC championship trophy on the field.
Tennessee Tech fought its way through a first-half in which it lost three fumbles but still managed to lead 14-7 at the break. The Golden Eagles took firm control early in the second half, however, scoring four third-quarter touchdowns to take a 42-7 lead into the final period.
Tre Lamb faked a hand-off and found a hole off tackle, carrying in a 12-yard touchdown with 10:04 left in the third quarter to put the Golden Eagles up 21-7 and begin the barrage of Tech scoring.
The defense then did its part as Richmond Tooley intercepted a Jake Ryan pass at the Austin Peay 47-yard line. After a 27-yard carry by Dontey Gay set up the Golden Eagles at the 13-yard line, Lamb carried two yards for his third rushing touchdown of the afternoon to put Tech ahead 28-7 and well within grasp of the title.
Gay had a big day, carrying 25 times for 192 yards and eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the season. His two-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter also made Gay the all-time leader in single-season rushing touchdowns at Tech with 15. Gay finished the day with 1,009 yards on the year.
Gay's effort led a 346-yard rushing day for Tech. The Golden Eagles finished with 458 yards of total offense while holding Austin Peay to 255.
While Tech did most of its damage on the ground, quarterback Tre Lamb completed 7 of his 11 passes for 112 yards and one touchdown while also running for 52 yards on 14 carries.
Austin Peay was led offensively by running back Ryan White, who carried 30 times for 140 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jake Ryan went 11-for-28 for 102 yards.
Tech got on the scoreboard first in the first quarter when Lamb capped off a 5-play, 36-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown dive. The Golden Eagles added to that lead just minutes later when Lamb completed a bomb to a wide-open Cody Matthews, who ran the rest of the way to paydirt, completing a 61-yard scoring strike.
Austin Peay finally got its offense in gear in the second quarter, launching a drive that resulted in an 18-yard touchdown scamper by White.
The Golden Eagles struggled over the rest of the second quarter. Lamb fumbled on a quarterback sneak attempt from the Austin Peay two-yard line, then lost the ball again on a carry deep inside Tech territory. Jordan Johnson and Jake McIntosh combined to turn away an Austin Peay rush attempt, however, on fourth down from the 2-yard line to maintain a 14-7 lead at the break.
With Tech holding a 28-7 lead in the third quarter, McIntosh picked off Ryan for the second time and returned it to midfield, setting up another Tech scoring drive that resulted in an eight-yard touchdown run by Cody Forbes.
TTU struck again very quickly as Luke Woodason forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and Richmond Tooley picked it up and carried it in from 19 yards out, taking the lead to 42-7.
Gay scored Tech's final touchdown from two yards out in the fourth quarter.
The Golden Eagles will play in the FCS Playoffs next weekend.
Below video is the in-game blog.
*Lots of purple starting to make its way into the stands at Tucker Stadium. Thirty-five minutes until game time.
*Senior Day festivities will be getting underway shortly as Tech honors 20 players — Travis Adkins, Dominick Baker, Tim Benford, Nick Campbell, Ben Davis, Dwight Evans, Dontey Gay, Jamere Hogue, Malcolm Jones, Jake McIntosh, Matt Mercy, Alden Olverson, J.R. Richmond, Scott Schweitzer, Charlie Stevens, Ryan St. John, Richmond Tooley, Justin Vann, Corey Watson and Ryan Weeks. Congratulations and thank you seniors!
*Today's game also serves as the annual Academic Excellence Day. Tech has invited Honor Roll students from elementary schools to join the Athletic Director's Honor Roll students during pregame to help greet the team when it enters the field. All Honor Roll students will be admitted free with vouchers distributed through area schools.
*Tim Benford, who already owns career school records for receptions and receiving yards, comes into today's game tied for the record in career touchdown catches with 27. Benford, who ranks fourth on the OVC career receiving yardage list, needs 37 yards today to move into third and 127 to pull into second. He needs 10 receptions to move from third to second on the OVC all-time list for career receptions.
*Temperatures will be around 63 degrees at kickoff and are expected to hold steady in the low 60s throughout the game. Skies are partly cloudy over Tucker Stadium.
*The Golden Eagle Marching Band has taken the field for pregame.
*And the Golden Eagles have taken the field!
*Captains for Austin Peay are Amius Smith, Ryan White, Tim Schmid and Scott Thomas. Captains for the Golden Eagles are Jamere Hogue, Tim Benford, Corey Watson and Richmond Tooley.
*Tennessee Tech has won the toss and deferred to the second half. Austin Peay will receive and defend the north end zone.
*The Golden Eagles are wearing purple jerseys with gold lettering, purple pants and white helmets. Austin Peay is in white jerseys with red lettering, red pants and red helmets.
First Quarter Notes
*Justin Vann brings down the Austin Peay returner at the 19-yard line. APSU takes over 1st and 10.
*Jamere Hogue brings down Austin Peay ballcarrier on 3rd and 2, forcing 4th and 3 from the Governors' own 27 yard line.
*APSU punt downed at the Tech 33-yard line. First and 10 Golden Eagles.
*Tre Lamb finds Tim Benford down the sideline for a 20-yard gain on second down and a TTU first down at the Austin Peay 45-yard line.
*Two consecutive false start penalties move the Golden Eagles back to 1st and 20 at their own 45.
*Lamb avoids the sack but is brought down at the Austin Peay 40 on third down, setting up 4th and 5 for TTU.
*Lamb delivers eight-yard first-down pass to Benford on a comeback route. First and 10 Golden Eagles and a fourth-down conversion!
*Dontey Gay finds a hole up the middle for an eight-yard gain and a Tech first down at the 18-yard line.
*Austin Peay's Zach Lane recovers a Tech fumble on an option pitch from Lamb to Gay. Governors take over at their own 23 yard line first-and-10 with 8:56 remaining in the first quarter.
*Jake Ryan's third-down pass attempt broken up by Tech's Corey Watson, forcing 4th and 17 from the Governors' own 16 yard line.
*Fair catch at the TTU 48, where the Golden Eagles start first and 10 with 8:03 left in the quarter.
*The Tech defense has held Austin Peay to just six yards of offense over the Governors' first two possessions.
*Cody Matthews can't handle a third-down Lamb pass over the middle, setting up 4th and 12 for the Golden Eagles on their own 46 yard line.
*Nick Campbell's punt is a touchback and APSU will start its drive at its own 20-yard line.
*Pass from Ryan on third-and-8 intended for Devin Stark falls incomplete, forcing APSU to punt from their own 23 yard line. AFter a 13-yard punt, Tech takes over at the APSU 36.
*Gay explodes up the middle on first down for an 18-yard gain and a Tech first down at the 19 yard line.
*Two more Gay carries and another first down for the Golden Eagles all the way to the APSU 6-yard line. Gain of four on the first-down run.
*Tre Lamb scores a Tech touchdown on a quarterback sneak from one yard out after a 5-yard run by Gay! Zach Sharp adds the PAT to put the Golden Eagles on top 7-0 with 4:39 left in the quarter.
*TTU kickoff sails out of bounds, setting up Austin Peay to being its drive at its own 40 yard line.
*Austin Peay's Ryan White brought down by a host of Golden Eagle tacklers on 3rd and 10 for no gain, setting up 4th and 10 from the Govs' 40 yard line.
*After a 21-yard punt, Tech takes over at its own 39 yard line with 2:28 left in the quarter.
*TOUCHDOWN TECH! Lamb completes the bomb to a wide-open Cody Matthews, who carries the rest of the way to the end zone. A 61-yard pass plus the Sharp extra point gives Tech a 14-0 lead with 1:16 left in the first quarter.
*The touchdown catch is the second-career for Matthews, a freshman who caught his first TD pass a week ago at Eastern Kentucky.
*Tech has 149 yards of total offense while holding Austin Peay to just 9.
*Touchback on the kickoff, Governors start first and 10 at their own 20.
*Seven-yard pass from Ryan to Terrence Oliver gives Austin Peay its first 1st down of the game at the 30-yard line.
*Ryan White explodes up the middle for a 16-yard gain on first down, giving the Govs another fresh set of downs at their own 47 yard line.
*End of the first quarter. Tech leads 14-0, Austin Peay has first down at its own 47.
Second Quarter Notes
*Another first down for the Govs on a 13-yard completion to Darryl Clack over the middle to the TTU 40 yard line.
*Pass interference called on Tech's Austin Tallant, giving Austin Peay another first down at the 25-yard line.
*Big stop by the defense as Tech's Marcus Edwards turns away Austin Peay ballcarrier Ryan White on 3rd and 1 at the 17.
*Timeout Austin Peay, facing 4th and 2 at the 18.
*White carries up the middle 18 yards for the Austin Peay touchdown on 4th-and-2. Stephen Stansell adds the PAT, making the score Tech 14, APSU 7 with 12:49 left in the half.
*Nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive in 3:20 for the Governors.
*Tennessee Tech has six first downs, Austin Peay has five on the game.
*Touchback on the kickoff. TTU takes over at its own 20.
*Zack Ziegler carries off tackle for a Golden Eagle first down and a 12 yard gain. Tech has first and 10 at its own 32.
*Urbano carries up the middle for another Golden Eagle first down and a six-yard gain to the TTU 46.
*Golden Eagles keeping the ball on the ground as Gay carries for another first down to the APSU 38 yard line.
*Cookeville's own Steven Bush keeps the drive rolling with another big carry, then the Golden Eagles benefit from a personal foul penalty on the Govs, putting the ball 1st and 10 at the APSU 22.
*First and goal at the 10 yard line after a 12-yard carry by Adam Urbano on first down.
*Lamb fumbles on a quarterback keeper attempt on 3rd and 2 from the 2-yard line, recovered by Austin Peay in the end zone. Governors take over 1st and 10 at their own 20.
*Two lost fumbles hampering Golden Eagles.
*White carries seven yards up the middle for a Govs first down at the 35.
*Ryan delivers a well-placed pass down the left sideline to Ashlon Adams for a 24-yard gain and an Austin Peay first down at the TTU 41 yard line.
*White breaks what looked to be a sure tackle, then gets to the outside and pikcks up a 28-yard gain to the TTU 13-yard line and an APSU first down.
*Timeout Austin Peay with 6:20 left in the half.
*Richmond Tooley breaks up third-and-10 pass attempt in the end zone, forcing 4th down for the Govs from the 13 yard line.
*Stephen Stansell misses 29-yard field goal wide right. Golden Eagles take over at their own 20 with 5:20 left in the half.
*Lamb fumbles on quarterback keeper, recovered by Austin Peay at the TTU 23 yard line. Fumble caused by Darrick Dillard and recovered by Earnest Smith.
*Tech has now lost three fumbles this afternoon. Austin Peay has committed no turnovers.
*Host of Golden Eagle defenders stop White on 3rd and 1 rush attempt from the 14-yard line. Fourth and 2 at the 15 for the Govs.
*Jordan Johnson and Jake McIntosh combine to turn away White's rush attempt on 4th and 2. Golden Eagles take over at their own 19 yard line with 2:55 left in the half.
*Austin Peay's Tyreon Clark brings down Adam Urbano on a screen pass attempt on 3rd and 12. Tech facing 4th and 9 from its own 21.
*Fair catch on the Tech punt at the Austin Peay 49 yard line. Govs take over with 47 seconds remaining.
*Devin Stark makes a diving catch on the right sideline, completing a 12-yard pass from Ryan, setting up a Govs first down at the 39.
*Corey Watson breaks up Ryan pass on second down, setting up 3rd and 10 for Austin Peay at the 39 with 27 seconds remaining.
*Pass complete from Ryan to Terrence Oliver, five-yard gain to the TTU 34. Fourth and 5 for Austin Peay.
*Tech calls time out to ice Austin Peay kicker Stephen Stansell, who is on to attempt a 52-yard field goal with 23 seconds left.
*Field goal sails wide left. Tech still leads 14-7 with 18 seconds left and takes over at its own 34 yard line.
*End of the first half: TTU 14, APSU 7.
*After a half of play, Tech has 227 yards of offense while Austin Peay has 162. The Govs are 0-for-8 on third-down attempts.
*Tre Lamb is 5-for-9 for 93 yards with one pass completed to leading receiver Cody Matthews for 61 yards. Tech's leading rusher is Dontey Gay with seven carries for 57 yards.
*Austin Peay's Jake Ryan is 8-for-20 for 73 yards, while the Govs are led in rushing by Ryan White with 17 carries for 92 yards. APSU's leading receiver is Ashlon Adams with one catch for 24 yards.
Third Quarter Notes
*Charlie Stevens fair catches opening kickoff at TTU 30-yard line. Golden Eagles take over first and 10 to begin the second half.
*Lamb fakes handoff, then finds a hole off tackle and carries to the APSU 48-yard line. First down Golden Eagles.
*Lamb hits Benford on a third-down slant for another Tech first down and a 16-yard gain. Ball at the APSU 26.
*Lamb keeps up the middle on third and five, gaining four yards to the 17 and setting up 4th and 1.
*Gay carries off tackle for a one-yard gain and a TTU first down at the 15 yard line.
*TOUCHDOWN TECH! Lamb carries 12 yards off tackle after faking the hand-off for a Golden Eagle score. Great block on the play by Charlie Stevens. Sharp adds PAT and Tech leads 21-7 with 10:04 left in the third quarter.
*An 11-play, 71-yard scoring drive for the Golden Eagles, who now have more than 300 yards of total offense on the afternoon.
*Austin Peay takes over at its own 23 yard line.
*Ryan completes 2nd down pass to Devin Stark for a nine-yard gain and a first down to the 34 yard line.
*Richmond Tooley intercepts Ryan pass at the APSU 47 yard line! Ball thrown high and tipped off the hands of an Austin Peay receiver into the grasps of Tooley. Tech takes over first and 10.
*Gay bounces off a tackle and gets to the outside, carrying 27 yards to the APSU 13-yard line for a Tech first down.
*Gay now has 101 rushing yards on the day.
*Gay carries for another first down, a five-yard carry to the APSU 2-yard line. First and goal Tech!
*Lamb fakes the hand-off and carries off-tackle into the end zone for another Tech TD! With the Sharp PAT, Golden Eagles lead 28-7 with 5:48 remaining in the third quarter.
*Lamb now has three rushing touchdowns on the day and one passing score.
*Tech has rushed for 234 yards this afternoon.
*Austin Peay's Tee Howell returns the kickoff to the APSU 35 yard line, where the Govs take over.
*Ryan pass complete to Devin Stark for a Govs first-down on the second effort by the receiver. A 15-yard gain to the APSU 49 yard line.
*Jake McIntosh intercepts Ryan third-down pass attempt and returns for around 15 yards! Golden Eagles take over at the 50 yard line.
*Gay finds a hole off tackle and carries all the way to the APSU 13-yard line. A 37-yard gain and a first down for the Golden Eagles!
*Gay has carried 14 times for 142 yards on the day.
*TOUCHDOWN TECH! Eight-yard run by Cody Forbes and the PAT by Sharp gives Tech a 35-7 lead with 2:06 left in the quarter.
*Gay needs 41 more rushing yards in order to have 1,000 on the season.
*TOUCHDOWN TECH! Austin Peay's Tee Howell fumbles on the kickoff is recovered by Richmond Tooley and carried into the end zone! Fumble forced by Luke Woodason. Tooley recovered at the 19 and returned 19 yards for the TD.
*Sharp adds the PAT and Tech leads 42-7 with 1:54 left to play.
*APSU's drive begins at its own 20.
*Ryan pass broken up by Austin Tallant on 3rd and 9, setting up 4th and 9 for the Govs from their own 21-yard line.
*Fair catch on APSU punt at the TTU 49 yard line. Golden Eagles take over with 22 seconds left in the quarter.
*End of the third quarter: Tech 42, APSU 7. Tech has ball 2nd and 10 on own 47.
*Golden Eagles are 15 minutes away from their first OVC title since 1975 and an FCS playoff berth!
Fourth Quarter Notes
*Gay carries seven yards for a Tech first down at the APSU 41-yard line.
*Austin Peay stops Gay short of first down on a 3rd and 6 carry from. Tech facing fourth down at the APSU 33.
*Gay carries for the first down this time on a pitch from Lamb. Gain of nine yards gives TTU first down at the APSU 24 yard line.
*Chants of O-V-C now reverberating through Tucker Stadium.
*Cody Forbes gets to the outside for around a five-yard gain and a Tech third-down conversion. First down at the 12-yard line for TTU.
*Gay carries three yards to the 2-yard line for a first-and-goal.
*Gay now has 1,001 yards on the season.
*TOUCHDOWN TECH! Two-yard dive by Dontey Gay sets school record for most rushing touchdowns in a season with 15. Sharp adds PAT and Tech leads 49-7 with 7:52 remaining.
*Today's attendance: 9,142. Thanks Golden Eagle Nation!
*Kickoff goes out of bounds, Austin Peay takes over at own 41 yard line.
*White carries up the middle for a 12-yard gain and an APSU first down at the TTU 32-yard line.
*Landon Curtis carries on the quarterback keeper for a six-yard gain and an Austin Peay first down at the 21-yard line. Austin Peay calls time out with 3:38 left in the game.
*White carries up the middle for an 11-yard gain to the 3-yard line. First down Govs with 2:00 remaining.
*Austin Tallant forces a fumble as Austin Peay QB Ryan attempts to dive into the end zone. Recovered by Tech's Jamere Hogue, who returns to the 22-yard line.
*Clock at 1:15, ticking down toward OVC title!
*Head coach Watson Brown receives Gatorade shower! Fans are on the track! Golden Eagles in victory formation!
*Final score: Tech 49, Austin Peay 7