The Tech football team (2-2, 0-1) suffered its first OVC loss of the season Saturday night against in-state rival Tennessee State University (3-1,1-0). The Golden Eagles fell to the Tigers 41 to 21 in a game that was plagued by turnovers and penalties.
“We just got outplayed,” head coach Watson Brown said. “They beat us in all phases of the game.”
After winning the coin toss and electing to receive, the Tech offense put together a 12 play 79-yard drive that ended with a touchdown. Senior center James Normand was credited with the touchdown when he recovered a Darian Stone fumble in the endzone. TSU answered with its own 79-yard touchdown drive on eight plays. Backup quarterback Ronald Butler connected with Ryan Mitchell on a 47-yard touchdown pass. Tech’s starting cornerback Demario Donnell jumped an out route ran by Mitchell.
Had the ball been thrown accurately, Donnell could have potentially picked off the pass and been off to the races for a Tech touchdown. The pass was thrown well behind Mitchell, which allowed him to shield off Donnell to make the reception. Mitchell turned up the TSU sideline and outran the rest of the Tech defense to the end zone. The point after tied things up at seven in the first quarter.
Later in the first quarter, Tech was backed up on the 1-yard line. Sophomore Ladarius Vanlier fumbled, turning the ball over to TSU. The Tigers made quick work of the Tech turnover and scored on their first play from the line of scrimmage. This gave TSU a 14 to 7 lead heading into the second quarter.
Neither offense could muster much of anything in the second quarter as both defenses really cranked up their play. TSU tacked on a field goal and went into halftime with a 17 to 7 advantage over Tech. Tech was unable to turn things around in the second half. The Golden Eagles were outscored 10 to 0 in the third quarter. Tech held serve in the fourth quarter matching TSU’s 14 points with 14 points of their own.
Tech inserted redshirt freshman quarterback Jared Davis at the start of the fourth quarter. Davis drove Tech on a nine play, 65-yard touchdown drive. Davis connected with sophomore wide receiver Steve Wilson on a 6-yard touchdown pass, closing the gap on TSU 34 to 14.
Tech’s defense would come up with a big fumble recovery on the next series. Davis lead the team down to the goal line where he would eventually punch the ball into the endzone on a QB sneak. Tech trailed 34 to 21 with 2:49 to play in the final quarter.
The Golden Eagles were unsuccessful with their onsides attempt to get the ball back for the offense. TSU would tack on a late touchdown to push the final margin back to 20.
“We controlled the run well and that’s about it,” Brown said. “There were a lot of mistakes.”
The Golden Eagles step back out of conference play for the last time this weekend when they host the Indiana State Sycamores (1-2) at Tucker Stadium Saturday at 7 p.m. Indiana State presents a tough challenge for the Tech this weekend. The Sycamores lost to Big Ten in-state foe Indiana 73 to 35. They also fell to Big Ten opponent, Purdue, 20 to 14 early in the season. Indiana State defeated Quincy two weeks ago 70 to 7 before their bye week this past weekend.
This game will be the Family, Faith and Youth Night at Tucker Stadium. For more information on the events of the night, Tech Football and all Tech Althletics, visit TTUSports