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Big plays, excitement rule the evening as Golden Eagles roll to victory

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Tech put its "Fastest 60 Minutes in Football" on display at Tucker Stadium for the first time Thursday night, and the result was a flashy evening of quick strikes in a 56-7 victory over Maryville College.

The Golden Eagles scored 42 first-half points and racked up 566 yards of total offense, entertaining a crowd of 7,232 with plenty of big plays on both sides of the ball. Tech's 566 yards of offense was the most recorded in a game during the five-year tenure of head coach Watson Brown.

Quarterback Tre Lamb threw four touchdown passes, going 11-for-14 for 222 yards and running back Dontey Gay notched his second-consecutive 100-yard game, carrying 19 times for 155 yards and a score. It was the fourth 100-yard game of Gay's career.

Wide receiver Tim Benford was electric in the early going, scoring two touchdowns on six catches and racking up 131 total receiving yards. It was Benford's seventh 100-plus-yard game.

Tennessee Tech set the tone early as Cody Forbes returned the opening kickoff 59 yards to the Maryville 33-yard-line and Lamb found Benford for a 25-yard touchdown pass on the Golden Eagles' second play from scrimmage.

After forcing Maryville three-and-out, Tech turned the ball over to Gay on its second possession, and the running back racked up 66 yards on four carries, including a 19-yard touchdown scamper up the middle.

Then Tech opened up its bag of big plays, first getting a 71-yard touchdown pass when Benford caught a short delivery from Lamb, then reversed field and ran all the way to paydirt.

On the Golden Eagles' next offensive possession, sophomore Doug Page caught a pass over the middle from Lamb at the Maryville eight-yard-line, then absorbed a hit that jarred the ball loose. Fortunately for Tech, freshman receiver Ron Durbin was there to pick up the ball and take it the rest of the way for a touchdown, putting the Golden Eagles firmly in control with a 28-0 lead.

Tech racked up 342 rushing yards on the night and accumulated 224 yards through the air. Maryville finished with 233 total yards, 159 of which came through the air.

Three Golden Eagles gained more than 50 rushing yards, with backup quarterback Darian Stone racking up 80 yards on just three carries and Cody Forbes carrying for 67 yards on eight rushes.

Tech was impressive on special teams as well — junior Caleb Mitchell returned four punts for 72 yards, averaging 18 per return, and placekicker Zach Sharp was a perfect 8-for-8 on extra points.

Maryville quarterback Tim Conner finished 13-for-22 for 108 yards and two interceptions, both returned for scores. Wesley Idlette was his favorite target, hauling in seven passes for 54 yards. The Scots' rushing attack was led by Travis Felder, who carried 11 times for 71 yards.

On defense, Tech was paced by eight tackles from Tra'Darius Goff (shown in photo below). Dwight Evans and Blake Adams each notched seven tackles.

Travis Adkins intercepted a second-quarter pass at the Maryville 11-yard-line and ran it into the end zone, putting Tech up 35-0 with just more than 10 minutes left to play in the half.

The Golden Eagles' final score of the half came when Lamb scrambled out of trouble, then hit fullback Charlie Stevens over the middle and the fifth-year senior raced 38 yards and dove across the line as time expired for his first career TD. Stevens bulldozed his way past a defender inside the five-yard-line and dove over the line to give Tech a 42-0 halftime lead.

Tech's second half points came on a 74-yard run by redshirt freshman Darian Stone, and a 38-yard interceptions return by Corey Watson. It was the first career TD for each.

Tennessee Tech (1-1) begins Ohio Valley Conference play with a trip to Eastern Illinois (1-0) on Sept. 17 for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff.

PREGAME NOTES --

* It's Military Appreciation Night as well as Public Safety Night. Military families, both current and retired, are being treated to a pregame meal by First Tennessee Bank in the Magic 98.5 Tailgate Park, and receive free tickets to the game with a military ID.*
*Couple of last-minute changes to the Golden Eagles' starting lineup. Making their first collegiate starts will be senior Ryan St. John at right guard, freshman Cody Matthews at wide receiver and freshman Austin Tallant at free safety. Also starting for Tennessee Tech will be Dontey Gay at running back in place of Adam Urbano, Howard Griffin at inside linebacker in place of Matt Moran and Jamere Hogue at defensive end. St. John is replacing Slade Adams in the lineup and Matthews is replacing Demetrous Garrett.
* Temperatures at Tucker Stadium are hovering around 65 degrees with cloudy skies overhead. There is a small chance of drizzle throughout the evening with temperatures expected to drop into the mid-to-upper 50s.
*Tennessee Tech is decked out in its home purple uniforms with gold lettering, white pants and white helmets. Visiting Maryville is wearing white uniforms with red lettering, white pants and white helmets.
*Tonight's game marks the 45th season-opener to be held at Tucker Stadium.
*Maryville's clash with the Golden Eagles tonight marks the first time since 1979 that the east Tennessee school has played a current Division I opponent in football.
*Eighteen new Army cadets being sworn-in in the south end zone of Tucker Stadium as part of Military and Public Safety Appreciation Night.
*The Golden Eagle Marching Band is on the field for its first pregame performance of the 2011 season.
*Captains for Tennessee Tech are Justin Vann, Malcolm Jones, Travis Adkins and Nick Campbell.
*Tennessee Tech won the toss and elected to receive.

FIRST QUARTER NOTES --
*Long kickoff return by Cody Forbes to the 33-yard-line. The 59-yard return is the longest of Forbes' career.
*Twenty-five-yard touchdown pass from Tre Lamb to Tim Benford on the second play from scrimmage. Extra point is good. Tech leads 7-0 with 14:20 on the clock.
*Golden Eagles force Maryville three-and-out on their first possession. Tech takes over at own 33-yard-line.
*Tech is moving the ball once again, with back-to-back 14-yard runs by Dontey Gay.
*Gay takes advantage of a huge hole up the middle to bust a 19-yard run to the 19-yard-line. Gay has three carries for 47 yards.
*Gay busts another big run up the middle for a 19-yard touchdown scamper. Tech leads 14-0 with 10:38 left in the quarter.
*Maryville nets first 1st-down of the evening on a 21-yard screen pass. First-down Scots at their own 49-yard line.
*Tech forces Maryville to punt. Golden Eagles take over at their own 25-yard line.
*Tim Benford reverses field on a short pass from Tre Lamb, goes 71 yards for Tech's third touchdown of the evening. Golden Eagles lead 21-0 with 6:13 left in the quarter.
*The reception was the longest touchdown catch of Benford's career.
*Tre Lamb is off to a 4-for-4 start for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
*Tech getting good penetration into Maryville's backfield. Scots forced to punt again. Golden Eagles take over at own 24-yard line.
*Golden Eagles marching down the field once again. Fastest 60 Minutes in Football making things difficult for Maryville's defense to get set.
*Ron Durbin recovers a fumble at the Maryville eight-yard line, takes it in for the Golden Eagle touchdown. Fumble recovery follows a 22-yard pass from Tre Lamb to Doug Page. The touchdown was the first of Durbin's career.
*Tre Lamb is 6-for-6 for 152 yards and three touchdowns. School record for touchdown passes in a game is five.

SECOND QUARTER NOTES --
*Caleb Mitchell begins second quarter with 49-yard punt return. Golden Eagles take over at Maryville 31-yard line. Longest punt return of Mitchell's career.
*Tech has 263 yards of total offense. Maryville has 34.
*Lamb hits Benford for 14-yard third-down conversion. Tech has 1st-and-10 at Maryville 15.
*Golden Eagles go for it on 4th and 2 from Maryville 7. Scots stop Dontey Gay run attempt, take over at own 6.
*Travis Adkins intercepts pass at the line of scrimmage at Maryville 11-yard line, runs in for Tech TD. Golden Eagles lead 35-0 at 10:21.
*Touchdown was second of career for Adkins. First came on a fumble return.
*Marcus Edwards sacks Maryville QB on third down. Golden Eagles take over at Maryville 38-yard line after 20-yard return by Caleb Mitchell.
*Maryville free safety Bud Christy intercepts Lamb pass, returns it 20 yards to own 36-yard line where Scots take over.
*Maryville can't take advantage of turnover, goes three-and-out. Golden Eagles take over at own 10-yard line after illegal block penalty.
*Scots defense holds Golden Eagles three-and-out. Nick Campbell launches first punt of the evening, fair caught by Maryville at own 35 yard-line.
*Maryville fakes punt, Travis Felder runs 40 yards on 4th and 6 to set up Scots at Tech 21-yard-line, their first venture into Golden Eagle territory.
*Maryville misses FG attempt wide left. Golden Eagles take over at own 28 with 1:03 remaining.
*Tech converts 4th and 2 on 12-yard pass from Lamb to Benford. First down TTU at Maryville 38 yard line with 2.9 seconds left.
*Lamb eludes pressure, finds senior Charlie Stevens over middle for 38-yard TD pass with no time left on clock. Stevens dives over pylon. PAT good. Tech leads 42-0 at end of first half.
*Lamb finishes first half with four TD passes.

THIRD QUARTER NOTES --
*Maryville receives kickoff, begins second half at their own 32-yard-line.
*Corey Watson steps in front of Maryville pass, makes four tacklers miss en route to 38-yard return down sideline for Golden Eagle touchdown. Tech leads 49-0 with 14:36 left in quarter.
*Touchdown was first of Watson's career.
*Golden Eagles force Maryville three-and-out, Tech takes over at own 37.
*Gay leading Golden Eagle march downfield, now has 16 carries for 138 yards. Tech has moved to Maryville 26-yard line.
*Tech 4th-and-2 attempt fails, Maryville takes over at own 22 yard-line.
*Starters are mostly out of the game for Tennessee Tech defensively.
*Maryville punts to Golden Eagles, who take over at own 24. Offensive starters are out for Tech.
*Darian Stone breaks 74-yard TD run on quarterback keeper. Tech leads 56-0 with 5:51 left in quarter.
*Maryville recovers Golden Eagle fumble on punt return. Scots take over at Tech 30-yard-line.
*Golden Eagle defense forces Maryville turnover-on-downs. Tech takes over at own 29-yard-line with 2:50 left in quarter.
*Golden Eagles punt to Maryville, Scots take over at own 30.
*Scots rush for first down to midfield as third quarter expires. Maryville will start fourth quarter 1st-and-10 at 50-yard-line.

FOURTH QUARTER NOTES --
*Maryville goes for it on 4th and 1 from TTU 22-yard-line. Golden Eagle defense stuffs direct snap to running back. Tech keeping shutout intact, takes over at own 22.
*Golden Eagles punt back to Maryville. Scots take over at own 19-yard-line.
*Maryville crosses midfield, picks up first down at TTU 45 on 9-yard pass from Tim Conner to Wesley Idlette.
*Scots go for it on 4th-and-4, pass complete from Conner to Blake Williams to the TTU 9-yard-line with 4:20 left to play.
*Conner scores a Maryville touchdown on a quarterback keeper, completing a 14-play, 81-yard drive. PAT good. Tech leads 56-7 with 2:45 left.
*Announced attendance at tonight's game: 7,232
*Cookeville native Zach Salada has 40 yards on 10 carries for the night.
*Final score: TTU 56, Maryville 7