Despite the heroics of Patrick Smith, who caught a career-high three TD passes, Tennessee State came up short against previously winless Tennessee Tech 30-26 in Cookeville.
Tennessee Tech opened up the scoring in the first quarter when a 5 play, 47 yard drive resulted in a Nick Madonia 40-yard field goal giving the Golden Eagles a 3-0 lead. On their next possession the Golden Eagles scored on a 27-yard pass from running back Andrew Goldsmith to Dontez Byrd. The PAT made it 10-0 in favor of TTU.
Tennessee State answered with an eight play, 63-yard drive that was capped off with a 16 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Hughes to Patrick Smith and with the PAT, cut the lead to 10-7. Tennessee Tech scored on their third consecutive drive, a 12-play, 51-yard journey that ended with a Nick Madonia 37-yard field goal, bringing the score to 13-7.
Tech would open the second quarter with a two-play scoring drive that culminated in a Andrew Goldsmith 31-yard touchdown run; the extra point made the score 20-7. After Dajour Nesbeth interception and 26-yard return to the Tech 37-yard line set the Tiger offense up, TSU would cash in on a 30-yard pass from Hughes to Patrick Smith. After the PAT, the Tigers climbed within six at 20-14. Tennessee State’s defense would get another takeaway when LaQuarius Cook out fought a Tech receiver for the interception at the TSU 41. Nine plays and 53-yards later Lane Clark booted a 23-yard field goal to inch the Tigers even closer, 20-17.
Tennessee State would claim the lead in the third quarter after a nine play, 86 yard drive that ended on a 16-yard pass from Hughes to Smith, his third TD reception of the day. The score would be 24-20 after the successful PAT. Tennessee Tech responded with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tavin Kilpatrick to Andre Sale, reclaiming the lead at 27-24 following the PAT. The Tigers were unable tie the game later third quarter when Lane Clark’s 41-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
Tennessee Tech would add to their lead with another Madonia field goal, this one from 39-yards out, giving the Golden Eagles a six-point lead with 6:31 to go in the game. TSU’s potential go-ahead drive was ended when Hughes was picked off in the end zone by Clay Davis. Tennessee State’s Vincent Sellers stopped a Tech ball carrier behind the goal line for a safety, giving the Tigers two points and another chance at 30-26. Tennessee State’s chances of winning were ended when Davis recorded his second interception of the fourth quarter.
Tennessee Tech returns to action next week as they host Austin Peay for their Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 1:30 P.M. CST. The Tigers will host Virginia Lynchburg University November 4, at Hale Stadium; this will be TSU’s first game in ‘the Hole” this season.