NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State Tigers picked the perfect time to finally get into the end zone Saturday afternoon, scoring their first touchdown of the game with no time left on the clock to tie the Golden Eagles 21-21. TSU then added the game-winning PAT to seel the come-from-behind win.
The Golden Eagles were brilliant in the red zone for nearly the entire game, holding the Tigers to five field goals in their first five trips inside the 20-yard line. The final touchdown came after a fourth down conversion by TSU quarterback Michael German, who appeared to fumble the ball before being called down by the officials. Tech recovered the "would-be" turnover in the end zone.
With just one second to go, German scrambled around before finally finding A.C. Leonard for the winning score.
Sophomore quarterback Darian Stone, who earned his first career start, had a break-out game, rushing for 86 yards and accounting for all three Tech scores. He passed for 77 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Golden Eagles down the field on two long scoring drives. He started with a one-yard score on the ground to give the Golden Eagles a 7-0 lead.
After four consecutive field goals by Tennessee State, Stone led Tech on its second scoring drive, throwing a 41-yard strike to true freshman Eric Belew on third down and 28 yards to go. It marked the first receiving score of Belew's career.
TSU added its fifth field goal to take a 15-14 lead into the fourth quarter. Stone then executed another key drive, taking Tech down the field on nine-play, 4:11 drive that ended with a Cody Matthews touchdown reception.
Junior punter Chad Zinchini had a career day, averaging 52.6 yards per punt, including a career-best 60-yard boot. His numbers were even more impressive considering the 15 mph wind that he faced half the game.
* Today begins the hunt for the Sgt. York Trophy. Tennessee Tech won the trophy outright in 2010 and a share of it in 2011.
* For the second time this season, the Golden Eagles will wear their new specially designed white uniforms. They also wore them at Oregon. This is the third time the team has worn the gold helmets which are a tribute to the 1972 team.
* Sophomore quarterback Darian Stone will make his first career start today. Senior Tre Lamb is out due to injury.
* This is the 26th meeting all time between the Tigers and Golden Eagles, with TSU leading the series 15-10.
* Tennessee State is ranked No. 21 coming into the game.
* In last season's game, the Tigers pulled off the close 42-40 victory in Cookeville.
* TSU Offesnive Line Coach Russ Ehrenfeld, is a former assistant coach at Tennessee Tech.
* Howard Griffin, Will Johnson, and Kedrick Towles are today's captains.
* Tech wins the toss and will receive the ball to start the game.
FIRST QUARTER NOTES
* TSU attempts an onside kick to open the game, but they illegally touch the ball before 10 yards and Tech will take over on the Tigers' 44-yard line.
* TOUCHDOWN!!! Darian Stone with a one-yard score to put Tech up 7-0. It is the first rushing touchdown for Stone this year and second of his career.
* SACK! Sophomore Nathan Bush gains his first career sack by taking down Michael German.
* TSU attempts a 37-yard field goal. It's good. It barely squeaks over the uprights. Tech leads 7-3 with 8:50 to play in the first quarter.
* The Tech defense holds and will force the Tigers to attempt another field goal. It's good. Tech leads 7-6 with 4:05 to play in the first quarter.
* At the end of the first quarter, the Golden Eagles lead 7-6.
SECOND QUARTER NOTES
* The Golden Eagles force another field goal attempt by the Tigers. Three redzone appearances equals no touchdowns.
* The field goal is good. TSU now leads Tech 9-7 with 14:12 left in the first half.
* Another red zone appearance, another field goal attempt for the Tigers.
* It's good. TSU now leads 12-7 with eight minutes to play in the first half.
* FUMBLE!!! The Golden Eagles force and recover a TSU fumble. They'll take over at their own 26-yard line.
* Junior nose guard Lamar Moore with the fumble recovery.
* Darian Stone with a HUGE 39-yard scamper. Tech now in TSU territory.
* TOUCHDOWN!!! Stone with a 41-yard touchdown pass to true freshman wide receiver Eric Belew.
* It is Belew's first TD reception of his career and gives the Golden Eagles a 14-12 lead with just under 3:00 to go in the first half.
* Tech gets the ball back with 1:09 to go in the first half.
* At the end of the first half, Tennessee Tech leads Tennessee State 14-12.
THIRD QUARTER NOTES
* Senior defensive back Taylor Hennigan with a MONSTER hit to break up a long pass attempt on third and long by the Tigers. They punt and the Golden Eagles will take over on their own 36-yard line.
* Tech again comes up big in the red zone. TSU to attempt its fifth field goal of the game.
* It's good. The Tigers now lead the Golden Eagles 15-14 with 2:17 to go in the third quarter.
* At the end of the third quarter, TSU leads Tech 15-14, but the Golden Eagles are driving.
FOURTH QUARTER NOTES
* TOUCHDOWN!!! Darian Stone with his second TD pass of the game, this one to sophomore wide receiver Cody Matthews.
* It marks the second receiving touchdown of his career.
* Tech leads 21-15 with just under 13 minutes to go in the game.
* Junior punter Chad Zinchini with a MASSIVE punt. It travels 60 yards before bouncing out of bounds at the TSU 20-yard line.
* The punt marks the longest of Zinchini's career. He also leads the Ohio Valley Conference in punting.
* The Golden Eagle defense forces its second straight three-and-out and TSU will punt with 7:32 to go in the game.
* On fourth-and-one, Darian Stone gets the defensive line to jump offsides. First down Tech with 3:30 to go.
* Stone LEAPS over the defender for a first down. The Golden Eagles are at the Tennessee State 20-yard line with 2:38 to play.
* Touchdown Tennessee State with no time left on the clock. Game is tied at 21 with an extra point attempt to come.
* Its good. TSU wins 22-21.