Colonels grab 24-10 victory over Golden Eagles despite solid defensive outing


By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
and Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information

RICHMOND, Ky. – The Tennessee Tech defense did what it could Saturday to give the Golden Eagles a chance against Eastern Kentucky. The offense, however, never found consistency and the host Colonels took advantage for an uninspired, 24-10 Ohio Valley Conference victory for EKU's Homecoming in Kidd Stadium.

Through three quarters, the Tech defense limited the league's best rushing offense to just 118 yards on the ground. Tech's defense came up with a big fourth down stop late in the third quarter, and moments later got a turnover when Cory McDonald intercepted a pass near midfield.

But the Tech offense, already missing key players due to a variety of injuries, lost top receiver Cody Matthews early in the game when he was injured attempting to make a catch. EKU defensive back Brandon Stanley was penalized for targeting, hitting Matthews in the helmet, and was ejected from the game. Backup tailback Maleek Hall, making his first start in place of starter Zack Ziegler, also went out with an injury, as did starting tight end Parker Teeter.

Newcomers Joe Vines and Dametris Watson filled in, each making the first receptions of their careers. Their appearances were an indication of how the offensive staff was trying to piece together its lineup.

Still, without offensive consistency, the Golden Eagles were within reach into the fourth quarter, trailing 17-3, when EKU surprised Tech with a trick play, throwing a reverse pass into the end zone to make it a 24-3 contest.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jared Davis, chased all afternoon and forced to throw several times on the run, directed a 10-play, 62-yard touchdown drive to pull Tech with 24-10 with 9:30 remaining.

Tech's defense forced another three-and-out and got the ball back quickly. Davis got the offense moving again, driving into EKU territory, but the Colonels stopped Tech on a fourth-and-one with five minutes to play.

EKU scored on the opening drive of the game, a 10-yard run by quarterback Jared McClain that finished off a 10-play, 64-yard drive for an early 7-0 lead.

Tech moved into scoring range early in the second quarter and Zach Sharp drilled a 29-yard field goal to make it 7-3.

Late in the half, EKU scored twice in 1:27 to take a 17-3 lead into halftime. First, McClain raced around right end on a keeper for an eight-yard TD to end a 78-yard drive.

On first down, Davis' pass was deflected and intercepted, setting up a 26-yard field goal by Andrew Lloyd.

Tech finished with 200 yards of offense, mustering just 27 yards on the ground on 22 carries. Davis was 21-for-42 for 173 yards through the air.

EKU, which leads the OVC in rushing, was limited to 149 yards on the ground on 50 carries, but added 198 passing yards to finish with 347 in total offense.

Junior linebacker Tra'Darius Goff topped the tackles charts, making 10 stops including two tackles-for-loss and a quarterback sack. Kevin Robinson-White, making his first career start, added eight tackles. Marty Jones had seven stops, broke up a pass and recovered a fumble.

The Golden Eagles (3-5/0-4 OVC) head home to host Jacksonville State (5-2/1-2 OVC) next Saturday for Tech's annual Homecoming game. Kickoff in Tucker Stadium is at 1:30 p.m.

PREGAME NOTES
- Tennessee Tech enters the contest at 3-4 overall with an 0-3 mark in OVC play.
- Eastern Kentucky comes into the game with a 3-3 mark overall and 1-1 record in league play.
- In last year's edition of the series, EKU came from behind to defeat the Golden Eagles, 42-28, in Cookeville.
- The Colonels lead the all-time series, 51-18, and have won five the previous six match-ups.
- Last week, the Golden Eagles' comeback attempt against UT Martin fell just short, as the Skyhawks held on for a 28-17 victory.
- EKU was on a bye last week, but defeated Austin Peay, 38-3, the week prior.
- The Golden Eagles win the toss and have deferred to the second half.

FIRST QUARTER NOTES
- EKU returns the opening kick off to their own 36-yard line and game is underway.
- The Colonels grab a rushing touchdown from quarterback Jared McClain. They lead Tech, 7-0, with 10:16 to go in the first quarter.
- Tech punter Chad Zinchini on to punt. He boots one 50 yards and EKU takes over on its own 25-yard line with 7:30 to go in the first quarter.- The Golden Eagles hold the Colonels on third down and force Jordan Berry to punt.
- Ladarius Vanlier back to receive the kick. He lets it go and it is downed on the TTU five-yard line.
- Big pickup on third down for the Golden Eagles! Quarterback Jared Davis hits tight end Parker Teeter for 21 yards and a Tech first down!
- Zinchini on to punt and he kicks in 45 yards to the EKU 35-yard line.
- At the end of the first quarter, the Colonels lead the Golden Eagles, 7-0.

SECOND QUARTER NOTES
- FUMBLE!!!!! Jay Rudwall hits Caleb Watkins hard and the ball comes out and Marty Jones comes away with it! Tech takes over on the EKU 46-yard line.
- HUGE first-down conversion on fourth down as Davis hits Steve Wilson with a 13-yard completion to the EKU 17-yard line.
- Zach Sharp out for a 29-yard field goal attempt.
- IT'S GOOD!!!! Tech cuts the lead to 7-3 with 11:22 to play in the first half.
- EKU forced to punt. Vanlier returns it to the 50-yard line.
- Dametris Watson grabs his first career reception. It goes for 21 yards and a TTU first down.
- Jerquin Vines follows suit, grabbing his first career reception for four yards.
- Eastern Kentucky takes over after a turnover-on-downs. The Colonels have it on their own 22-yard line.
- EKU's McClain goes around end and gets into the endzone as the Colonels take a 14-3 lead with 1:54 to play.
- Eastern Kentucky tips a pass and Anthony Brown picks it off at the TTU 31-yard line.
- Andrew Lloyd on for the 26-yard field goal attempt by EKU. It's good. The Colonels take a 17-3 lead with 27 seconds left in the first half.
- At the end of the first half, Eastern Kentucky leads 17-3.

THIRD QUARTER NOTES
- Ladarius Vanlier back to receive the ball. He'll return it to the TTU 26-yard line as we begin the second half.
- Zinchini out for the punt. He boots it 43 yards to the EKU 29-yard line.
- Great pass break-up by James Huguely on third-and-12 and EKU will be forced to punt.
- Vanlier brings it back to the Tech 31-yard line with 11:11 to go in the third quarter.
- Zinchini on for the kick and he pops one 49-yards to the EKU 18-yard line.
- EKU forced to punt and Tech will take over on its own 35-yard line.
- The Colonels will go for it on fourth-and-one from their own 30-yard line.
- THEY'RE SHORT!!! Tech stuffs JJ Jude at the line of scrimmage by Kevin Robinson-White and Tech takes over on downs!
- Zinchini will come on for the punt. He crushes one 47 yards into the wind and EKU takes over on its own 25-yard line.
- INTERCEPTION!!!! Cory McDonald jumps a route and snags a McClain pass! His first pick of the year puts Tech at the 50-yard line!
- Zinchini puts one into the endzone for a touchback. The ball went 46 yards into the wind.
- SACK!!!! Tra'Darius Goff sacks McClain for a three-yard loss and forces second-and-13.
- At the end of the third quarter, EKU leads 17-3.

FOURTH QUARTER NOTES
- EKU's Jeff Glover around for a reverse. He pulls up and passes a 29-yard TD pass to Ike Ariguzo and the Colonels take a 24-3 lead with 12:31 to play.
- Cody Forbes returns the ensuing kick off to the TTU 38-yard line.
- BIG fourth-down conversion as Davis hits Maleek hall for 18 yards and a first down at the EKU 18-yard line.
- TOUCHDOWN!!!! Davis hits Krys Cates for a 16-yard score with 9:30 remaining and Tech cuts the lead to 24-10.
- The Colonels forced to punt and Tech will take over on its own 24-yard line with 7:17 to play.
- Eastern Kentucky will take over after a turnover-on-downs by the Golden Eagles.
- Tech gets the ball after EKU can't convert a fourth-and-eight.
- Eastern Kentucky will take a knee and the Colonels defeat the Golden Eagles, 24-10.