COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Big plays led to quick strikes as Tennessee Tech came back from a halftime deficit to earn a 42-24 Homecoming victory over Austin Peay Saturday in Ohio Valley Conference action in Tucker Stadium.
After opening the game at receiver, sophomore Brock McCoin moved to quarterback and led an offense that had four scoring drives of three plays or less. Two other Tech scoring drives took six and seven plays, and four of the six Tech touchdowns came on plays of 46 yards or longer.
The Tech defense, meanwhile, held Austin Peay scoreless in the second half, allowing just six rushing yards and 57 total yards after halftime.
Tennessee Tech improved to 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the OVC after snapping a five-game losing streak. Austin Peay ended the year at 0-11 overall and 0-8 in the league. It was Tech's third straight win over the Govs and sixth in the last seven meetings.
McCoin became only the second player in school history to rush for 100 yards and pass for 200 yards in a game. He finished with 115 rushing yards on 19 carries, and threw for 206 yards, going 8-for-12 with three touchdowns.
Ladarius Vanlier scored four touchdowns, rushing for 131 yards and three touchdowns, including end zone romps of 46 and 51 yards and added a 69-yard touchdown reception.
Finishing the game with 272 all-purpose yards, the second-best game in his career, Vanlier moved to second in all-purpose yardage with 5,196 yards.
Krys Cates turned one of his three receptions into a 46-yard touchdown, one of his two scores on the afternoon. He finished with three catches for 92 yards.
Austin Peay was led by quarterback Trey Taylor, who was 17-for-30 for 208 yards with two touchdowns. He also rushed 12 times for 70 yards. Kendall Morris topped the Gov ground game with 112 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. Jared Beard caught six passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
Freshman Tim Collins had a career-high 11 tackles and forced a fumble to top the Tech defensive effort. Tra'Darius Goff had 10 tackles while Jay Rudwall added nine stops. Devon Jones led APSU with nine tackles.
Tech finished with 482 yards of offense on 52 plays while the Governors had 385 yards on 77 plays, getting 327 in the first half.
Tech used back-to-back quick scores in the third quarter to erase a 24-21 halftime deficit and hand control to the home team. Each of those two scoring drive was just three plays and was ignited by big plays from Vanlier and Cates.
The first came on a burst of speed by Vanlier, who broke through the middle and went 51 yards for his third touchdown of the afternoon. The three-play scoring drive went 68 yards in only 1:14.
Cates hauled in a pass from McCoin, broke free from a would-be tackler, and raced to the end zone to complete a 46-yard play for a 35-24 Golden Eagle lead with 4:33 remaining in the third quarter. The drive took just three plays to cover 48 yards in 49 seconds.
The final score of the afternoon was a picture-perfect pass down the middle from McCoin to a streaking Vanlier. He nabbed it in full stride and kept on streaking for a 69-yard touchdown and a 42-24 lead. The seven-play drive went 98 yards in 3:48.
The first half was a back-and-forth tug-of-war that Austin Peay used to build a 24-21 lead at the break.
Austin Peay marched 83 yards for the opening score of the ball game, a six-yard TD pass from Taylor to Beard for a 7-0 lead with 5:23 to play in the first quarter. The 10-play drive chewed up 4:53.
Tech tied the contest as McCoin moved to quarterback to replace starter Jared Davis, and directed a three-play, 46-yard drive. He hit Cates for a 33-yard gain, then tossed one over the middle that Cates made a phenomenal, one-handed, leaping catch for the score with 1:38 remaining in the period.
Austin Peay wasted no time in regaining its lead just nine seconds later as Beard snuck behind the defender on the first APSU play, and Taylor hit him in stride for a 79-yard touchdown and a 14-7 Governor lead.
The third TD in a span of 1:07 came when Vanlier tried the middle, was halted, and raced outside right end, sprinting untouched 46 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-14 with 31 seconds to play in the period. It was a two-play, 56-yard scoring drive.
After that flurry of scoring, the defenses held for awhile before Austin Peay eventually marched for a tying score with 4:43 left in the half. The 58-yard, six-play drive culminated in a one-yard run by Kendall Morris to knot the game at 21-all.
The Govs put the final points on the board in the first half on a 35-yard field goal by Logan Birchfield for a 24-21 halftime lead.
The only other time in history that a Tech player hit the two milestones of 100 yards on the ground and 200 through the air came in the 2012 season when Darian Stone rushed for 190 yards and passed for 277 in a win over UT Martin to earn OVC and National Offensive Player of the Week honors.
The Golden Eagles wrap up the 2015 season at home next week when they celebrate Senior Day in Tucker Stadium. Tennessee State visits for a 2:30 p.m. contest that will be nationally televised by the American Sports Network.